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Universal Design in Power BI: Color Contrast

Universal Design in Power BI: Color Contrast


Greg Trzeciak, from Pragmatic Works, is back with another episode in the Universal Design series. This time, he delves into the often overlooked aspect of color contrast in Power BI reporting. Let's explore how mastering color contrast can significantly improve the accessibility of your reports.

Understanding Color Contrast:

  • Greg introduces the Color Contrast Analyzer tool, emphasizing its role in evaluating color combinations.
  • Accessibility standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), recommend specific color contrast ratios:
      - 3:1 is acceptable
      - 4.5:1 is preferable for aging eyes
      - 7:1 is the gold standard
  • The contrast ratio is the difference between the background and text colors, crucial for readability.


Examples of Good and Bad Color Contrast:

  • Greg illustrates the impact of color contrast through various background and text combinations.
  • Left-hand examples showcase accessible contrasts like white background with black text.
  • On the right, Greg highlights common mistakes, where poor contrasts reduce visibility.
  • Experimenting with colors often leads to reduced readability, a pitfall Greg aims to help viewers avoid.


Challenges with Color Mixing:

  • Greg draws attention to challenges posed by color mixing, particularly in unconventional combinations.
  • He notes the difficulty in discerning certain combinations, like green and red or yellow and orange, emphasizing the viewer's struggle with readability.

Excel and Power BI Mistakes:

  • Greg warns against common mistakes in Excel and Power BI, where individuals compromise readability for aesthetics.
  • Using a color contrast analyzer becomes crucial to prevent such errors and enhance report accessibility.

The Color Contrast Analyzer Tool:

  • Greg introduces the Color Contrast Analyzer tool as a valuable resource for ensuring accessibility.
  • He provides links to additional resources for choosing colors but emphasizes the efficiency of the Color Contrast Analyzer.

Live Demonstration:

  • Greg offers a live demonstration of the Color Contrast Analyzer tool within Power BI.
  • He selects a sample report and explains the importance of maintaining a high color contrast ratio, especially for web-facing reports.

Practical Application:

  • Greg showcases how easy it is to use the tool by adjusting foreground and background colors.
  • He demonstrates how a simple change in background color significantly improves the contrast ratio, hitting the 7.8:1 mark.
  • Emphasizes adaptability for organizational colors while maintaining high contrast ratios.


Greg wraps up by reinforcing the importance of considering color contrast in report design. He encourages viewers to explore the Color Contrast Analyzer tool to enhance the overall quality and accessibility of their reports. Universal Design is not just about aesthetics but also about creating inclusive and accessible reporting experiences.

In this video Greg Trzeciak highlights the significance of color contrast in Power BI reporting, urging users to prioritize accessibility for a more inclusive reporting environment. For more courses, sign up for the Pragmatic Works' on-demand learning platform. Here we offer a wide range of courses, including those related to Microsoft products like Power BI, Power Automate, and Azure.

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