Choosing a unique palette is a great way to express your online personality, but you do have to consider some factors. Most people have learned NOT to combine bright colors together, but sometimes a color palette can be little too subtle.
By that I mean that the contrast between the text (the “foreground”) and the background needs to be far enough so that text is easily distinguished from the background. For instance, gray text on black can be more elegant than black text, but the gray still has to be dark enough to be legible . The same is true of any color scheme using multiple shades of the same color.
Similarly, aqua links are lovely, but the aqua also needs to be dark enough to be easily legible…especially if your audience includes anyone “of a certain age” (late 30s and up) beginning to have experience symptoms of weakening eyesight. See the Accessibility Color Contrast page for examples of good and not-so-good contrast examples.
The good news there are some online tools to check for contrast, although you will need to find what the color codes you are using (e.g. #FFFFFF for white, #00000 for black, #FF9900 for an orange). See notes below on color codes.
- Sites at Penn State: The default templates blog templates generally have good color contrast in most cases, so this is a non-issue unless you modify the colors extensively.
- Note on Dreamweaver and other Web Editors: The color codes are available when you select a color in a swatch. Look in the swatch or the properties windows to find the code.
Once you know your color codes for text (foreground) and background, you can enter them into one of the forms listed below. Ideally you want results to be AA.
Should your contrast selection not score “AA”, I would recommend that you adjust colors. Fortunately, you generally only need subtle adjustments. That is, making your text just a little bit darker or you background just a little bit lighter will improve contrast while maintaining the integrity of your artistic vision.