Making accessible emails has been a growing area of interest over the last couple of years, and calls for accessibility will only grow. If you’ve ever worked on making a website accessible, applying this to email may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

Why be accessible?

If you saw a building that wasn’t accessible, how would you feel? Why, then, are we now surprised when we do see an accessible website or email? Making your digital marketing accessible is not only the right thing to do for your customers, but also the right thing to do for your business. In fact, the increasing requirements for accessible websites may be a precursor of what’s to come for other digital communications.

A secondary reason, but one that might more easily justify the investment needed when you present to your leadership, is the benefit accessibility has to all of us. Designing your email to work well with a screen reader for the visually impaired will also improve the experience for the ultimate multi-tasker who has Siri or Alexa read their emails to them. Using scalable elements to account for large font settings will also improve your email’s flexibility across multiple devices and screens.

Accessibility by Design

There are simple design steps that can be taken to increase accessibility in your email.

  1. Use High-Contrast for all text
  2. Include clear hierarchy of content
  3. Keep paragraphs short and left-aligned
  4. Use font size of at least 14 px, with 1.5x line height
  5. Use email-safe fonts so text doesn’t have to be included as an image
  6. If including animated GIFs, avoid jarring or shaky animations

It takes some getting used to to adjust design and brand to fit within accessibility, but it is worth the challenge to make sure your message is reaching all customers of varied abilities.

Coding Accessibility

In addition to the visible aspects of accessibility, there are numerous things that can be done on the back-end code. If you don’t code, no worries – InQuest can handle this for you:

  • Set table-roles so screen readers can differentiate content from structure
  • Use semantic tags to set hierarchy for screenreaders, just like it displays visually
  • Always include an alt text attribute on images to read, or not read, as appropriate
  • Specify the language in the HTML opening tag so the screen reader uses the correct pronunciation
  • Code font-sizes to be scalable to a user’s screen preferences

 

These examples are just the start to accessibility best practices in email. If you already have these in place, next steps may require more involved solutions such as interactive color settings.

When you work with InQuest to handle your email programs, rest assured that you have a partner who will help you evaluate, plan, and implement appropriate accessibility for your brand – and your customers.

 

Sara Willimon

Author Sara Willimon

Sara is a Senior Email Marketing Specialist at InQuest Marketing. She helps brands connect to their customers by providing strategy, analysis, and deliverability guidance to grow their email efforts. In her free time, Sara loves to travel and play board games. If she could have any superpower she would choose teleportation- just think of the efficiency!

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