Highcharts Accessibility Compliance
February 19, 2021 - 3 minutes read
Enabling the Accessibility module goes a long way to ensure that your charts automatically comply with existing accessibility standards, including the requirements from the US Government in Section 508, the European Web Accessibility Directive, and the international WCAG 2.1 standard. We aim to be innovative and leading in this field, and make sure we involve users with disabilities when developing our accessibility features. The features and tools provided go far beyond basic compliance, and our goal is to help you provide the most accessible charts possible.
Standards such as WCAG 2.1 define guidelines for what constitutes accessible web content. Highcharts itself is not web content, but a highly flexible tool for creating web content through a programming interface, and is as such not directly covered by these guidelines. The users of Highcharts have complete control over the web content created, either through our official APIs or through programmatic manipulation of the library. With the Accessibility module, Highcharts helps you produce charts that are as accessible as possible. Due to the flexible nature of Highcharts, however, the final responsibility for standards compliance of the resulting web content has to be with the user of Highcharts. Configurations or design decisions, such as which colors are used in the chart, could result in a chart that is inaccessible to some users. Custom plugins and functionality could also affect chart accessibility. We therefore always recommend checking your design against established standards, and testing your charts with relevant assistive technology to verify that they are accessible.
Accessible chart checklist
In order to ensure your chart is accessible and compliant with standards, you should verify at least the following:
- The Accessibility module should be enabled.
- The chart should have a text description if possible.
- If possible, the data table and data download features should be enabled and configured.
- Ensure elements in the chart have sufficient contrast according to standards, and are accessible to users with color blindness. You can read more about this in our article on accessible color design.
- Determine if the accessibility features need to be configured for your particular use case.
- If adding custom functionality, make sure the functionality is accessible to users of assistive technology, such as screen readers.
Read more about making your charts accessible, including configuring the accessibility module for your chart, in our articles on using the Accessibility module. If you experience issues making your chart accessible, please reach out to us, and we will be happy to assist.