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Apple’s green message bubbles have an actual problem


I don’t go in for a lot of the ‘iMessage is a tool of social exclusion and must be stopped for moral reasons’ stentorian breathing – teenagers leaning into any reason to say “ew” isn’t new – but Allen Hsu has ID’d an actual problem.

Apple have picked a gross green. And it’s about colour contrast.

Here’s Hsu’s description:

The blue Apple picked for the iMessage bubbles provides a better color contrast against the white text on it compared to the green Apple picked for the Android bubbles. In other words, since text is white, likely Apple picked a darker blue but a lighter green to purposefully make the iMessage text more readable.

The contrast issue gets worse as you bump up the screen brightness, too.

According to Hsu, Apple’s green doesn’t meet accessibility guidelines:

In fact, the green Apple picked doesn’t even pass the WCAG accessibility test, with a score of 2.18 which is considered “very poor”. It impacts the user experience for everyone but especially for the users with visual disabilities.

Apple has made a lot of their accessibility features – for good reason, they’re fantastic – so, if Hsu’s description is accurate (and it seems to be), this would be quite the oversight. Or an example of Apple sacrificing their values for a less-than-stellar reason.

Regardless, they definitely could’ve chosen a nicer shade of green.



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