Using 508 Accessibility Tools for Color Contrast in eLearning Videos

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For an eLearning video to be an effective learning tool, it must be accessible to people with varying educational needs. This is particularly true if you create videos and other content for people who have learning or cognitive disabilities or vision or hearing limitations.

Incorporating accessibility into eLearning videos promotes engagement and interaction with learners across all spectrums, allowing them to grasp new concepts and important lessons with ease. It is especially helpful for distance learning or workplace training.

Specifically, having color contrasting text and clear images makes it easier for many learners with disabilities to retain the material and apply it to their job or studies. Using color contrast with text and images also allows learners to view and understand the objectives and material in a different context.

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As the world continues to become comfortable with distance learning, more and more institutions are implementing 508 accessibility testing tools – color contrast so that learners with different needs can better understand the material. Here is what you should know about color contrast and why it is a necessity in the eLearning space:

How Does 508 Work?

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Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was officially recognized and enacted in 1998. This amendment requires federal agencies to make electronic information accessible to people with disabilities.

This does not just apply to federal agencies either. Educational institutions and corporations should also take it about themselves to ensure that all people have access to the tools they need to succeed. eLearning is no exception. For example, people with hearing and vision impairment require images and text to be clear and digestible. Color contrast and other accessibility tools make this goal much more feasible.

Why Color Contrast is Important to eLearning Videos?

The World Wide Web Consortium (or W3) has noted that there has to be enough contrast between text and its background if it is to be readable to people with moderately low vision (particularly those who do not have assist contrast-enhancing technology).

For those with color deficiencies, luminance contrast can greatly affect how the learner experiences the video. Hue, saturation, and legibility are pivotal in helping vision-impaired learners to understand what is on-screen. W3 recommends that the contrast be calculated so the usage of color is not a key factor in the video. This ensures the learner(s) has adequate contrast between images, text, and the background. It makes the learning process easier for disabled people to obtain and retain information.

From the beginning, the text needs to be large with wider character strokes, allowing for an easier read at lower contrast. This gives editors or animators the chance to use a wide range of colors for large text. Usually, 18-point text or 14-point bold text is recommended as the best font size when it comes to the required lower contrast ratio. The exact ideal size will depend largely on the audience you are hoping to reach.

Additionally, people with vision impairments tend to have difficulty reading text that is indistinguishable from its background. The minimum contrast criterion (1.4.3) applies to video text, including animated and stagnate text and interactive text is shown when a pointer is hovering over an object or when an object has keyboard focus.

This ratio is optimal for those suffering from color deficiency or complete color blindness trying to read the text. Under any of these circumstances, the text must provide sufficient contrast between it and the background.

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Nielsen Norman Group Image
508 accessibility testing tools, 508 accessibility, accessibility testing tools
Nielsen Norman Group Image

When it comes to on-screen images, people with cognitive disabilities need color combinations or hues that have low contrast. Writers, editors, and animators can use color contrast tools to adjust the foreground and background colors in the video.

Finally, scaling images and text can be problematic for the visually-impaired, as both tend to distort and pixelate. Changing foreground and background contrast and color combinations of images can be an aid or hinder the situation. The creator can supply high-quality resolution images and text and backgrounds for visually-impaired learners to understand the lesson or training.

Color Contrast Accessibility Tools

eLearning videos, like most forms of educational media, must cater to learners across all spectrums, especially the hearing- and visual-impaired. The best educational information resource on disabled people is American with Disabilities Act (ADA)’s site. But when it comes to making any video or document learning accessible, there are plenty of tools to aid in the process.

One such example is ADA Compliance. The site features a color contrast test that checks if the video has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 (or 7:1) for normal text and 3:1 (or 4.5:1) for large text, graphics, and user interface components. Normal and large text have their respective columns whether video text passes or fails ADA standards.


508 color contrast accessibility testing tools is a necessity when creating eLearning content for all learners, regardless of their physical or mental limitations. For more information on 508 accessibility testing tools and how to get training materials and eLearning videos that all learners can benefit from, reach out to us at Ninja Tropic today!

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