New Chrome Accessibility Extensions

In a May 9, 2015 article PC Magazine summarized two new extensions for Chrome that allow users to customize their experience on web pages:

  • Color Enhancer – helps users with color blindness better distinguish shades
  • Animation Policy – allows users to adjust how most animated images work in Chrome

These are great extensions for people who wish to further customize their experience to fit their individual preferences when accessing websites. It is important to understand, however, that it is not a replacement for adhering to accessibility guidelines. Extensions like these are only available when using the browser they are designed for, in this case Chrome, and may not work across all platforms.

WCAG 2.0 1.4.3 Contrast sets the requirement for good color contrast so that all users can read the content on the page. When the color contrast of text is good, the Color Enhancer extension allows users to easily customize the way colors are seen and make them more readable according to their preference.

WCAG 2.0 2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide requires that there is a way to turn off motion that plays automatically for more than five seconds or that automatically updates. This is a critical guideline that ensures all users can interact with content. The Animation Policy extension allows users of Chrome to set image animations to play once. It does not, however, allow users to replay the animations. This may cause some usability issues for users who need to see the animation multiple times but get distracted when the animation is playing, requiring them to turn off animation while reading the page.

Personalization features of browsers and operating systems are good and can enhance the overall usability for many users but do not replace the need to follow the accessibility guidelines and provide an accessible product without these features.

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