Automatic Color Contrast Resolver

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Leveraging Deque's powerful machine learning algorithms, the axe DevTools Extension is able to automatically determine if "needs review" color contrast issues from an automatic scan are, in fact, issues or not.


In order to use the Automatic Color Contrast Resolver, "Needs review options" must be enabled.

“Needs Review” Color Contrast Issues

There are certain instances where the automatic scan powered by axe-core can’t accurately determine the foreground and background colors of an element, such as when text is rendered over a gradient or background image. If you’re familiar with our axe-core mantra of “no false positives,” you’ll understand why it’s important these issues aren’t treated definitively until they are reviewed. We don’t want to waste time chasing false positives so we have previously classified these as “Needs Review,” indicating a manual review is required to confirm whether or not the issues are real.

With the Automatic Color Contrast Resolver, this manual review can be replaced by an automated review.

How the Automatic Color Contrast Resolver Works

The first time users with the Pro plan run a scan which has “needs review” color contrast issues (“Elements must have sufficient color contrast”), a dialog will appear which informs them of this new feature. They can then choose how this new feature will run:

  • Choose when to run (Recommended): If reviewable color contrast issues arise, you can run it anytime after a scan.
  • Run automatically after each scan: If reviewable color contrast issues arise, this tool will run automatically.

Screenshot of Color Contrast Analyzer first-time modal: How would you like to run this tool?

Choosing When the Tool Runs

We recommend the “Choose when to run” option. This will give users granular control over when the tool runs and won’t automatically increase the scan time. Any time there are “needs review” color contrast issues, the “We’ve found (x) color contrast issues for you to review. Click to automatically review them” button (within the main content of the page) will appear.

Running the Tool Automatically After Each Scan

Users can opt in to having the tool run automatically after each scan completes. This may significantly increase the time it takes to finish each scan. In this mode, the color contrast tool will kick off immediately after the automatic scan completes.

Screenshot of Color Contrast Analyzer trigger with tooltip

While the tool is running a modal will appear to show its progress.

Screenshot of Color Contrast Analyzer progress bar: "Reviewing 7 of 8 potential color contrast issues


Once the color contrast process is completed, users will be notified of how many issues were verified as true issues (no longer “needs review”), how many issues were deemed not issues, and how many remain as “needs review.” Those verified as issues will no longer be marked as “needs review” and instead will be displayed as real “automatic” issues. The issues which were deemed as non-issues will be removed as this indicates there is no color contrast issue to address. The rest of the issues will remain “needs review” and should be manually reviewed.

Screenshot of Color Contrast Analyzer results. 5 passed, 2 failed, 1 remains needs review


The “needs review” color contrast analyzer tool can be configured in Advanced Settings under the “Color contrast review settings” heading.

Screenshot of Color Contrast Analyzer advanced settings "Enable Automatic Color Contrast" checkbox

This setting can also be configured organization-wide via extension policy with the “AutomaticColorContrastReview” property name. This property can be set to “automatic” which is equivalent to “Run automatically after each scan” or “manual” which is equivalent to “Choose when to run (Recommended).”

Screenshot of Color Contrast Analyzer advanced settings "Tool run optoins" select list