bluespace art

Tumblr is getting a facelift

Some time ago we took a long, hard look at how we stacked up to the recommendations outlined in the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium. This is the initiative that sets standards for accessibility for people who may need assistance using the internet. It outlines steps to take and tools to use to create as seamless of an experience online as possible, whether you have auditory, visual, or neurological disabilities, are using a limited device, are on a slow connection with limited bandwidth, or…well, a whole bunch of other reasons.

The result of that long, hard look? Not great. We needed to make sure Tumblr was accessible to anyone who wants to use it.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been making changes to do just that. Our inaccessible menus are more accessible, we fixed our poorly described elements, and increased overall readability. You can read more about all that in our most recent @javascript post about the mobile web.

Part of making Tumblr more accessible involved upping the color contrast in our UI, most notably on the dashboard and everywhere else that familiar blue touches. The light grays and muted blues had a contrast ratio of 2.02:1. What does that mean? Bad. It was bad, and we needed to do better by people with visual impairments.

Enter your new dashboard:

It looks…cleaner, doesn’t it? Like someone dusted off the poorly accessible bits. The blue is darker, the grays are lighter, all the buttons and icons are brighter with our new brand colors, and it has a contrast ratio of 7.87:1 What does that mean? Good! Very good.

The switch to your brand new, higher contrast, less dusty dashboard has been slowly rolling out this week. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll get it sometime in the next few days.

A note: We know that this color change on the dashboard negatively impacts the beautiful bluespace art so many of you have created over the past few years. Seeing these older posts lose the utilization of the dashboard—something that made them so special and unique to just Tumblr—is certainly not a great feeling. There’s no way around that. We hope, however, that this change only means newer, more bluespace art will be created, and that this time around it will be easier for everyone to experience.

Goodbye, #36465D. You’ve treated many of us well, but #001935 will treat every single one of us even better.