APCA Reviewed

Independent Peer Reviews of APCA and
Third Party Comparisons vs WCAG 2

There are several independent researchers evaluating APCA, and additional third party comparative reviews that include demonstrations of the functional superiority to existing methods. The first few listed below are technical reviews by peers evaluating the APCA math and methods, including journal published peer reviewed papers. Some in comparison to WCAG 2 contrast methods and guidelines.

APCA has been developed in the open for open peer review and discussion, and the reviews listed below were performed independently, the majority were completed without consulting the APCA developers. Reviews listed first are peer or academically oriented, and deal with theory, while reviews listed later are targeted more toward practicioners, designers, and developers.

Known Issues With WCAG 2 Contrast

The problems of 4.5:1 as a target for a guideline is that it not only impact those with impairments, but impacts standard vision as well. WCAG 2 contrast SCs affect 100% of sighted users. The inherent problems with the WCAG 2 contrast math have been known for some time and widely criticized. Including studies by others showing that color insensitive types are not well served.

The WCAG 2 contrast specs often cause enough problems for designers that it is ignored and today, some 86% of websites are failing WCAG 2 contrast per an automated survey—though some of these failures are not due to poor actual accessibility, but due to the perceptual inaccuracies of WCAG_2 contrast.

The unfortunate end result is a grave distrust of the WCAG 2.x accessibility standards overall, despite the many other important aspects of those standards.

Prima Facia Evidence and Public Comment

Outside of the peer reviews, third party reviews, and the extended 2.5 years of public beta test data collected thus far, you as a user can make your own judgements, using the tools and inspecting the results.

For instance, look at the following examples of minimum compliance for content for WCAG 2 (left) and APCA (right). Which one would you rather defend in a court of law? Which one would you rather sites followed?

WCAG v2 vs APCA Dark Mode Compare, showing the minimums for each. The WCAG 2 example is clearly unreadably low contrast, as if WCAG 2 is meaningless for dark mode. APCA however is clearly readable.

Public Comment and Discussion

Public comment and discussion is encouraged. The APCA discussion forum is alive and well, please join in the discussion, share and discuss your findings during the open public test period.

More About APCA, Direct from the Creators

The easy quickstart to becoming an expert in perceptually uniform contrast guidelines.

Andrew’s Discussions on WCAG 2 and APCA

The following articles, blogs, gists, and documentation written by APCA Lead Researcher A.Somers, examine the technical and functional differences between APCA and WCAG 2. Note that some of these may be work-in-progress pre-prints relating to ongoing research.

Poster: a picture of crash test dummies crashing out of a car, and text that says don't be a dummy! Stop using low contrast text. At the bottom it says APCA the world is reading