Accessibility on Discourse

(Sarah Hawk) #1

Continuing the discussion from So, what are you working on?:

@RPSupportOrg I have created a new topic about this because I think it’s a very important thing to discuss further.

Thanks for that feedback Shellianne,
Accessibility is something that I’m very interested in. I have a few questions related to your answer above.

[quote=“RPSupportOrg, post:176, topic:675”]
grey text on a white background
[/quote] This is interesting to me. We actually have dark grey text on a very light grey background, which was deliberate because from what I’ve read, that is preferable to black on white, mainly due to contrast. Is that not your experience?

[quote=“RPSupportOrg, post:176, topic:675”]
the inability to enlarge the text
[/quote] The text should be enlargeable. On my Mac, cmd + does that. Is there an aspect to this that I’m not understanding? I also set the base font in posts to 16pt.

Your alt text point is a good one. When posting images on the forum people need to actively add alt data to the posted URL, which tends to mean that it doesn’t happen. It would be nice to investigate a way to incorporate that into the UI.

[quote=“RPSupportOrg, post:176, topic:675”]
Hope that makes sense!
[/quote] It does, thanks. If there are specific changes that you’d like to see, I’d be happy to try and make them.

(Shellianne Redding) #2

I just realized that I had not responded to Sarah’s response! Sorry…still getting used to the lay of the land :slight_smile:

The text should be enlargeable. On my Mac, cmd + does that. Is there an aspect to this that I’m not understanding? I also set the base font in posts to 16pt.

my answer: I use a windows-based PC as well as iPad or iPad mini depending on where I am in my house when I’m reading the posts. I am able to enlarge the entire screen (zoom in ) using Zoom Text software on my PC. But when I read it on my iPad, I can’t “pinch out” the individual pages like I can with most webpages. Maybe I’m doing something wrong or just don’t know enough about Discource yet. I am in the process of looking through the discource cheat sheet and forum support thread to see if I can find the answer there. What I was referring to is having an icon on the site that allows the user to increase just the font size. I usually see this displayed as a button on the front page of a site. For instance, on my site,, the home page has a small toolbar on the left side that allows the user to toggle the font size, grayscale and color contrast. (Just one example…there are tons out there). I TOTALLY accept that this is probably user error on my part so don’t feel bad about letting me know I’m not seeing something ! Would NOT be the first time! LOL!

As far as the contrast between light grey and dark grey, color contrast can be somewhat subjective, but having the background color and the text in the same color family (light grey/dark grey) usually diminishes contrast, thus making it hard to distinguish text from background for users with eye conditions that impact how the brain perceives light signals. I think I know what you are referring to with the black text/ white background combination. Some eye conditions make that combination feel “glaring” so a more suitable alternative is to have a sepia or tan background instead. But what works for one eye condition may actually make a site unusable for the next eye condition.

In my opinion, sites that allow the user to “customize” the colors (ie: grayscale vs color); increase the font size and to control the contrast), is probably the best alternative due to the vast number of different eye conditions out there. A website designer would probably find themselves in the loony bin very quickly if they tried to have a “one size fits all” color scheme. I feel the best solution (whenever possible) is to allow the end user to tweak the colors and contrast and font size that works best for him/her. The toolbar I use on my site is a wordpress plugin called “WP Accessibility” by Joe Dolson, More info about that can be found at

The alt text is definitely a challenge as you said and I struggle with it daily to not forget the attribute AND to think of what to put in the alt text description field. In my opinion, this is where accessibility verification tools come in so handy. Of course, this is an entire thread in and of itself so I’ll start a new thread about these topics as I am interested in hearing from others what they are doing with regards to accessibility.

…to be continued! :smile:

(Sarah Hawk) #3

Ah right! I see what you mean. So that isn’t specifically a Discourse thing. Once you go to a mobile device you’re looking at the mobile version of the site. You’ll actually find that any mobile site responds in that way.

Your plugin looks interesting. I’ll investigate options.

I really appreciate your insights here. Thanks.

(Sarah Hawk) #4

I just came across this interesting article, which addresses the contrast issue that we discussed earlier

(purldator) #5

This color contrast checker tool may help with testing a given combination of colors and type.