Twitter will readjust the contrast of its buttons based on the feedback received since then design updates earlier this week. Some people have reported eye strain, headaches and migraines due to the higher visual contrast of button and link colors and the new Chirp font.
We’re making contrast changes to all the buttons to make them easier on the eyes because you told us that the new look is uncomfortable for people with sensory sensitivity. We listen and repeat.
– Twitter accessibility (@ TwitterA11y) August 13, 2021
The contrast changes also included a black follow button that is filled in if you are not following someone, which has caused confusion for many people who are used to being the other way around. It is not yet clear whether the change will change.
As is usually the case when a popular site changes its design, Twitter changes were immediately received. It’s likely that some Twitter users would get used to the update over time. But for those who say the new design has caused them pain, the change highlighted a common problem with online accessibility: lack of choice.
Accessibility is not one size fits all; a feature that makes a site more accessible to one person can make it harder for another to use. High contrast is often helpful for the visually impaired or color blind, but can be painful for people who are sensitive to bright colors or light.
This is a great example of how some licensing needs are routinely focused on others within “accessible” processes!
High contrast is notoriously not available to many photosensitive and chronically sore people. https://t.co/c1AQNkMvC0
– Alex Haagaard (he / he) (@alexhaagaard) August 11, 2021
There is no equally readily available option in the Twitter interface. The best accessibility comes from the flexibility that allows users to choose the options that suit them. Twitter is currently changing settings in its accessibility menu, such as increased color contrast and reduced movement, as well as display settings that allow people to choose between a light and dark theme or scalable text size.
It could save a lot of headaches if users had more granular options and could choose the right contrast for them instead of having to wait on Twitter to make global changes. Twitter did not respond immediately to the comment request, but its @ TwitterA11y account has been ask for feedback changes.