United States Department of Veterans Affairs
VHA Office of Health Information

Training for Testing Software for 508 Compliance

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Testing for §1194.21 (j): Color and Contrast

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This module will focus on how to ensure that all users have access to the color and contrast settings that work best for them in an application.

The Section 508 requirement covering this is: §1194.21 (j) When a product permits a user to adjust color and contrast settings, a variety of color selections capable of producing a range of contrast levels shall be provided.

Users with a visual impairment respond to different kinds of color settings, depending on the type of visual impairment they have. Some work best with sharp, well defined contrasts; others prefer more muted contrasts or colors within a subsection of the palette. Still others cannot see reds or greens.

Applications that use operating system (OS) settings meet the color and contrast requirement as long as the OS allows users to select their own colors for the background, foreground and all user interface settings. The intent of this requirement is to cover applications that do not allow the user to access OS color and contrast settings. To be compliant with this requirement, these applications must allow for a full range of color and contrast settings.

Some applications provide access to their own color settings for the user to change. To be compliant with this requirement, the options provided must allow for a full range of color and contrast settings

Related Checkpoints

Remember, both testers and developers can use the checkpoints for this requirement to be sure the products they are working with will be accessible to users with disabilities, including those using assistive technology (AT).

Use the link above to look at the checkpoints now. You may wish to keep the window open as a reference to use as you complete this module.

Video Overview of this Requirement

To view an approximately one-and-a-half-minute video with additional information that may be helpful to testers and developers, select the video link below. The video will open in a new window; if you are using a screen reader to take this training, press Enter when you hear, "To start, press Play button."

Video in new window

Select Next for examples.

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