Use the Force (i.e., Forced Colors Mode)

#36331

Speaker(s)

  • Carly Gerard, Web Accessibility Engineer, Western Washington University

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: General Conference

Summary

A goal of Western Washington University’s main web theme is to be accessible by default: good color contrast, decent semantic structure, ease of navigation…the list goes on. But is it still usable when someone wants to use their own color palette? This talk explores Windows High Contrast Mode/Forced Colors mode, and what designers/developers can do to ensure their site works for their users’ preferences.

Abstract

Windows High Contrast is a valuable assistive technology for people using digital content with a color scheme that works best for them. This means if sites are built with semantic markup and use CSS best practices, that content should still be usable and readable to someone using a high contrast or forced colors mode.

As Western Washington University iterates on their primary web theme, a look at their sites through forced colors mode presents interesting findings and areas to improve on. In “Use the Force (i.e., Forced Colors Mode)”, attendees will hear about:

• What the newer Forced Colors CSS query is, how it compares to Windows High Contrast Mode and its current support in browsers • HTML/CSS strategies Western is using to both ensure forced colors mode doesn’t break and decide when the forced-colors media query is needed. • How to test websites in forced colors mode on Windows and MacOS.

Attendees will walk away with tools for making a site usable, and hopefully enjoyable, for people that prefer to use forced colors (they may also leave the session with a Star Wars pun or two).

Keypoints

  1. What Windows High Contrast/Forced Color modes are and how they work
  2. How designers/developers can create sites that support forced-color preferences.
  3. How to test a site in forced-color modes.

Disability Areas

Topic Areas

Other, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Carly Gerard

Carly has been working in digital accessibility since 2015, providing training and expertise to institutions such as Gonzaga University and currently Western Washington University. As a Web Accessibility Engineer for Western, Carly builds and maintains accessibility in the university's Drupal, WordPress, and static HTML themes. She also provides accessibility training for web content creators and developers, serves on RFP committees as an accessibility subject matter expert, and has presented at conferences like Accessing Higher Ground, Accessibility Summer Camp, and Building Bridges.

Carly is a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility (CPWA), credited by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals. She also earned a certificate with distinction in Assistive Technology Applications from California State University Northridge in 2016, focusing on user populations that benefit from assistive technology as well as web accessibility.

Carly earned a certificate with distinction in Assistive Technology Applications from California State University Northridge in 2016, focusing on user populations that benefit from assistive technology as well as web accessibility.