ACE: A Colour Palette Design Tool for Balancing Aesthetics and Accessibility

Garreth W. Tigwell (Lead / Corresponding author), David R. Flatla, Neil D. Archibald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
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Colour can convey a mood or elicit a particular emotion and in terms of web design, colour can influence attitudes, perceptions, and behaviours. However, many websites demonstrate inaccessible colour choices. Numerous online colour palette design tools only focus on assisting designers with either the aesthetics or accessibility of colours. With a user-centered design approach, we developed the Accessible Colour Evaluator (ACE - which enhances web developers’ and designers’ ability to balance aesthetic and accessibility constraints. We distributed an online questionnaire to 28 web developers and designers to understand their attitudes and utilisation of accessibility guidelines, as well as to gather initial design requirements for ACE. With this information, we created three low-fidelity paper prototypes which were used to create two high-fidelity prototypes. The high-fidelity prototypes were discussed with four web developers and designers during a design workshop and their feedback was used to develop the final version of ACE. A comparative evaluation of ACE and three existing alternative tools was conducted with 10 new web developers and designers. All participants were able to complete a colour palette design task when using ACE and identified ACE as their most preferred tool. The mean scores for the six TLX measures show ACE as providing the best performance and causing the lowest frustration. Finally, we conducted a small focus group with three web developers and designers to gather qualitative feedback about ACE. Participants identified a number of ACE’s strengths and made suggestions for future extensions and improvements.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)5:1-5:32
Number of pages32
JournalACM Transactions on Accessible Computing
Issue number2
Early online date2 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Web accessibility
  • web design
  • colour vision deficiency
  • colourblindness
  • user-centered design
  • aesthetics


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