Jakob Nielsen just published his findings after studying mobile web users for a while. Things are getting worse. Mainly, because designers still[!] "design" for fixed dimensions, knowing that virtually everyone has a screen larger than 1024 by 768 - which is true - and believing that everyone sets browser windows to full screen - which applies only to a minority that doesn't "work" their computer.
Fluid designs, adapting to flexible dimensions, are uncommon. Designs accommodating even simpler devices, such as phones, are even less common. And browsing on virtually every phone takes longer than it used to take a decade ago, because designers pack their pages with massive graphics because "everyone has broadband" and screens are so big.
Read the full story at Jakob Nielsen's site.
It's not just when designing for mobile devices that one has to keep an eye on contrast ratios. Where mobiles have to make do with a limited number of colours - 256 to 32k colours are still common - some users suffer from restricted vision or colour perception, making some web sites very difficult to read. And depending on the device you're developing for, some colour combinations suffer so badly when being quantised down to a palette the device can handle, that contrast vanishes.
To this end I modified a palette generator I wrote many years ago. It still prints out a palette of the most frequent colours in an uploaded image, but now it also checks the contrast ratio for each of the colour combinations in a generated palette. Colour combinations having a sufficient contrast ratio are marked and should be preferred for text and navigation.
If you hover your mouse above a combination with an acceptable level of contrast the ratios will be displayed, allowing you to select the combinations with the highest contrast between colour pairs that appear to be similar.
The contrast checking palette generator is available on my tools page.
© Copyright 1998 - 2012 Klaus Schallhorn.