Screenshot of Cloudflare Design’s Color tool

There are a ton of cool resources out there for finding accessible, inclusive color schemes and sequences! I’ve collected a few of the ones I’ve found most useful (beyond the typical contrast-checkers out there) here. I’ll update these as I discover more!

Useful for: Generating Accessible Color Palettes

http://colorsafe.co/

A nice, simple tool with a few extra features from a general contrast-checker. This tool lets you set up your background color + your font family, weight, and size, and it then generates a color palette you can explore and use based on the WCAG standard you’re targeting.

https://cloudflare.design/color/

This is the product I used to build the updated Pivotal UI colors. Probably my favorite of the palette-generation tools, this one lets you enter your entire brand palette, adjust it based on the contrast needs, and export the results, all shown in a rotating example UI.

Most helpful, I’ve…


Video Screenshot of Liz Jackson on the Interaction19 Stage, with the caption “the person who might actually kiss you with kindness is a pathological altruist.” One day, oh one day, Medium will give me alt-text.

Each week(-ish) as I hop around on the #a11y-related web, I take note of the exciting things I find and put together my favorites for the following week. Welcome!

I just so love semantic HTML and all the awesome things we get out of using HTML elements, all for freeeee! New-to-me in this short, sweet little piece: <meter>

Video from Liz Jackson on how “Empathy Reifies Disability Stigmas”

We need to start thinking critically about things that we perceive as wholesome.

This is an amazing, much-needed dose of #realtalk on how often, designers and developers rely one “empathy-building” exercises as a way to avoid having to actually deal with disabled people. As a person who has occasionally recommended empathy exercises before, this was an important reminder of how much…


Illustrated full-color image of a tree, from Tim Smith’s article on coding with cognitive difficulties on CSS-Tricks. (I would love to know + credit the illustrator, please contact me if you do.) Medium, please, give me some alt-text.

Each week as I hop around on the #a11y-related web, I take note of the exciting things I find and put together my favorites for the following week. Welcome to week 6!

The big #a11y news going around is this analysis of a million web pages, done by WebAIM, called “damning” and “demoralizing” by some accessibility experts. Conversely, they found that websites with ARIA labels were more likely, not less, to have a11y issues. How is this so? Implementing accessibility with an eye on compliance rather than (or in spite of) usability can end up making your site more complex, and more prone to errors. Still, it’s a worthwhile endeavor, and this is an important (and interesting, for my data-nerds) dispatch on the state of the web accessibility world.

Each week, I…


Image graphic of a word cloud in the shape of a brain, centered with the word “ADHD” and surrounded by words like “inattention,” “hyperactivity,” “treatment,” etc. MEDIUM, LET ME ADD ALT TEXT ALREADY! Perhaps one day I will be widely read enough for them to listen to me.

Each week as I hop around on the #a11y-related web, I take note of the exciting things I find and put together my favorites for the following week. Welcome to week 5!

But while researchers have tried hard to address some of the most egregious issues, there’s one group of people they have overlooked: those with disabilities. Take self-driving cars. Their algorithms rely on training data to learn what pedestrians look like so the vehicles won’t run them over. If the training data doesn’t include people in wheelchairs, the technology could put those people in life-threatening danger.

Remember that horrifying survey of whom a self-driving car should choose to hit, in a real-life implementation of the trolly problem? …


Screenshot from the VICE “How to Treat X” series of a young woman wearing a tracheostomy tube, with captions reading “I would prefer people didn’t pretend like my disability doesn’t exist.” Also, hey Medium! Can we add alt-text yet? No? WTF??!!

Each week as I hop around on the #a11y-related web, I take note of the exciting things I find and put together my favorites for the following week. Welcome to week 4!

“Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, many of my nondisabled American friends often blithely talk about leaving the country and settling elsewhere … When I post a comment mentioning the difficulties that a person with a disability faces when immigrating, the few replies are basically ‘I never knew.’ ”

Immigration is already a fraught scenario, made all the worse by administrative decisions based on exclusion and deterrence. As we engage with the national conversation on our borders and whom we want to be, turning away those seeking asylum, citizenship, and a better life, this is a harrowing and important perspective.


Illustration by Miwon Yoon, from the New Yorker interactive except from “Deaf Republic” by Ilya Kaminsky. It is a watercolor image of two purple-blue hands doing a sign for “Match,” one hand pointing up into the palm of the other. Medium, why don’t you allow alt-text yet????

Each week as I hop around on the #a11y-related web, I’ll be taking note of the exciting things I find and putting together some favorites at the end of the week. Welcome to week 3!

(Apologies for almost missing this week — President’s Day and snow in D.C. threw me off! But we’re back in business, now!)

“…I came to an epiphany: in modern UI design, we are rarely if ever using colors on pure black or white…Since I had optimized the “default” colors to be contrast-accessible on both pure white and pure black, I often found myself to jumping down the shade scale to make sure all my colors were accessible…”

Just a little shameless self-promotion! I wrote up an in-depth post on all the work we’ve been doing to update our internal style-guide…


Abstract illustration of the button triad colors and their use on dark and light UIs. Also, why doesn’t Medium support alt text yet? RUDE, MEDIUM.

Recently, I joined the Pivotal Apps Manager team with one express purpose: make it more accessible. I chose this team because its development team also builds and maintains the Pivotal UI style guide.

By improving the accessibility of AppsMan, as it is so lovingly called, I hope to abstract many of the updated components and bring them back into the Pivotal UI, enabling the 14 (or so) teams who use it to automatically become just a little bit more accessible.

This will also allow me to stress-test many of the components in a real use-case before setting it up as…


Screenshot of accessible color combinations from Cloudflare.design, a new tool helping designers find accessible color combinations. Also, Medium still doesn’t allow for alt-text! Boy, that sucks.

Each week, as I hop around on the #a11y web, I’ll be taking note of the interesting things I find, putting together some favorites at the end of the week. Welcome to week 2!

“Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
— Claude Monet

An absolutely fabulous new tool from the Cloudflare designers that allows you to explore, discover, or adjust your own accessible color combinations. I’ve been using it in my work updating the Pivotal UI style guide and we’re all getting very excited by the results!

“The increasing domination of the digital space is also coming with heavier expectations around access and literacy; not being able to use the internet can be a barrier to finding, applying for, and retaining jobs, accessing government benefits, doing schoolwork, looking for love, and shopping…


Each week, as I hop around on the #a11y web, I’ll be taking note of the interesting things I find, putting together some favorites at the end of the week. Welcome to week 1!

“A good start on web accessibility for you.”

Another great primer, similar to mine, constantly-updated and intended to help those looking to start out in a11y! I’ve already made it a bookmark.

“Good accessibility is good UX. We should seek to create the best user experience for all. And we shouldn’t settle for simply meeting accessibility standards but rather strive to create an experience that delights users of all abilities.”

A must-read, in my opinion, on how to get support from leadership regarding accessibility, along with other tips and resources.

Started by the same advocates as our favorite Google-backed Udacity…


Doodle of some little people playing around with their environment by Raquel Breternitz. By the way, why doesn’t medium have alt text? Rude.

Last updated Apr. 2019

After recently giving a talk on this for our San Francisco office, I’ve compiled a short list of some of my favorite #a11y resources. This by no means a complete list, just a compendium of where I, personally, started out.

I’d love to make this an ongoing list, so please send me any of your favorite recommendations, either here or on twitter @raqueldesigns.

(Side note: I have a talk on this, which I have given at several conferences, including Lesbians Who Tech and PluralSight Live — please reach out if you’d like me to come to…

Raquel Breternitz

Designer, writer, speaker, weirdo. Very good at reading the internet. Sometimes I get emotional about fonts.

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