11. Avoid Using Color Alone

Create Accessible Content That Does Not Rely on Color Alone to Communicate Information

Relying on color to communicate information causes barriers to access for a number of users with diverse abilities. Primarily, communicating with color alone causes barriers to access for the non-sighted user and the colorblind user. We cannot rely on the user having the sensory ability of color perception in order to perceive, operate, and understand our content. 

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Incorrect usage of color alone to communicate information

Correct usage of color with redundancy

Best Practice

Provide shapes, patterns, text equivalent, or other visual differentiation in addition to color to differentiate content. Or, provide an equally effective alternative format like a plain text formatted, WCAG AA compliant PDF. 


There are no automated or programmatic tests for this requirement. The only test is to review your content to ensure you do not have any items (like charts and graphs) that rely on color as the sole means of communication.


Adding an equally effective alternative format of a graphic like a chart or a graph, will render the image as decoration and no color requirements need to be taken into account. 

Applicable WCAG Success Criteria

SC 1.4.1 Use of Color


WebAim's article on communicating to the colorblind user