Word 2007 Section 508 Accessibility Checklist

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Icon depicting color and contrast for images

Color And Contrast


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Requirements for 508 compliance

Use high color contrast (background to foreground contrast, watermark to foreground contrast, etc.). The color contrast ratio between the background and text should be at least 4.5:1.


How to test and fix

Have high contrast combinations been used?

To check contrast:

  • Print the document in grayscale and/or turn down the color on the computer monitor

  • Examine items to ensure that there is sufficiently high contrast for elements, e.g.:

    • Table headers (text versus background fill)

    • Text in foreground versus background colors or images

    • Text in images

    • Watermarks versus text in foreground (the watermark should not interfere with the foreground text, as can happen when there is too little contrast)

Note: this is a subjective test


A report page is compared between grayscale and color. Items that are low contrast and require fixing are circled on the grayscale copy.

Note: For this requirement, contrast is being measured in a subjective manner. To have confidence that this requirement is being met, it may prove useful to show the document to a number of people of different ages (contrast sensitivity decreases with age) and visual capabilities. It also may be useful to examine the document under different types of lighting condition (from well lit rooms down to low light situations).


Examples

Use high color contrast (background to foreground contrast, watermark to foreground contrast, etc.). The color contrast ratio between the background and text should be at least 4.5:1.

Correct:

(Select the image to download example file in MS Word format)


A report page is compared between grayscale and color. Each item on the page has a high contrast between the background and foreground colors.

Incorrect:

(Select the image to download example file in MS Word format)


A report page is compared between grayscale and color. Several items on the page have low contrast between the background and foreground colors.
Rationale

Use high color contrast (background to foreground contrast, watermark to foreground contrast, etc.). The color contrast ratio between the background and text should be at least 4.5:1.

Users with low vision and color blindness may have difficulty reading documents that do not present sufficient contrast and color difference between background and foreground elements.

Legal References

508 references:

1194.21(g); 1194.21(i); 1194.22(c); 1194.31(a); 1194.31(b).

WCAG references:

1.4.1 Use of Color; 1.4.3 Contrast (minimum); WCAG-AAA: 1.4.6 ; 1.4.8.

All Microsoft Word Requirements


Requirements for 508 compliance

Text, images, and non-decorative graphics (bullets, dividers, etc.) must be visible when viewed in "High Contrast" mode.


How to test and fix

Are items visible in High Contrast Mode?

To ensure that text displays well in High Contrast Mode:

  • When choosing font colors, use the Automatic setting. Text that is set to Automatic will render properly in High Contrast mode.

    The color picker with the 'Automatic' setting highlighted.

To ensure that non-text elements display well in High Contrast Mode:

  • Print out a copy of the document for comparison with the screen display

  • Turn on High Contrast Mode: Left Alt + Left Shift + Print Screen


    A report page is compared between regular color and high contrast mode displaye. Items that do not show up well or do not show up at all require fixing, and are circled.
  • Check that items are still easily visible, e.g.:

    • Text

    • Bullet characters

    • Graphics

    • Table borders

    • Information conveyed through color

  • Adjust color settings accordingly

Note: It may be necessary to switch between High Contrast and regular viewing modes a number of times during this process.


Examples

Text, images, and non-decorative graphics (bullets, dividers, etc.) must be visible when viewed in "High Contrast" mode.

Correct:

(Select the image to download example file in MS Word format)


A report page is compared between regular color and high contrast mode. Each item on the high contrast page is readable.

Incorrect:

(Select the image to download example file in MS Word format)


A report page is compared between regular color and high contrast mode. Many items on the high contrast page have been rendered invisible (black on black) or very hard to read (dark blue or purple on black).
Rationale

Text, images, and non-decorative graphics (bullets, dividers, etc.) must be visible when viewed in "High Contrast" mode.

Users with low vision must be able to see the document content when displayed in "High Contrast" mode.

Legal References

508 references:

1194.21(g); 1194.21(i); 1194.22(c); 1194.31(a); 1194.31(b).

WCAG references:

1.4.1 Use of Color; 1.4.3 Contrast (minimum); WCAG-AAA: 1.4.6 ; 1.4.8.

All Microsoft Word Requirements


Requirements for 508 compliance

Information conveyed through color must also be conveyed textually.


How to test and fix

Is information conveyed through color also conveyed textually?

To examine information for color redundancy:

  • Identify elements where color is used to convey meaning, e.g.:

    • Pie charts

    • Bar charts

    • Table data cells (text and background/fill)

    • Figures

    • Status (statements, indicators)

    • Instructions

    • Flowcharts

  • Determine whether there a text equivalent is used to convey the same information.


    A project status document excerpt. Status is indicated with a different color letter 'X' next to each project.
  • Add a text equivalent on or adjacent to the element that conveys the same information.


    A project status document excerpt. Status is indicated with a different color letter 'X' next to each project, plus the name of each status written out in black text.

Note: Information conveyed in text may be placed in the alt-text, but it should not be the only place that the text is shown. The information should be clearly visible at all times for all users of the interface. Using alt-text attributes to "pop up" information normally conveyed in color is inappropriate, because people who have color vision problems are not required to have their interface set to show alt-text on mouse-over.


Examples

Information conveyed through color must also be conveyed textually.

Correct:

(Select the image to download example file in MS Word format)


A project status document excerpt. Status is indicated with a different color letter 'X' next to each project, plus the name of each status written out in black text.

Incorrect:

(Select the image to download example file in MS Word format)


A project status document excerpt. Status is indicated with a different color letter 'X' next to each project.
Rationale

Information conveyed through color must also be conveyed textually.

Users who are blind, low vision, or color blind require alternatives for information conveyed by color. In addition to static colors, this includes color used to indicate dynamic changes in status, alerts, errors, etc.

Legal References

508 references:

1194.21(g); 1194.21(i); 1194.22(c); 1194.31(a); 1194.31(b).

WCAG references:

1.4.1 Use of Color; 1.4.3 Contrast (minimum); WCAG-AAA: 1.4.6 ; 1.4.8.

All Microsoft Word Requirements