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How to Make Your E-Mail Marketing Messages Accessible

Your customers and prospects may include people with disabilities and physical challenges, so make your e-mail marketing messages accessible. You can either design your e-mails with various physical challenges in mind or send two versions to accommodate differing abilities.

Visual impairments aren’t the only disabilities that might make your e-mail difficult to understand. Use these tips for making your e-mails accessible to visually impaired, aging, and other challenged subscribers:

  • Provide a link to a text-only version of your e-mail to allow text-reading devices to easily read your content to people with visual impairments. Make sure your e-mail begins with the link and a summary of your e-mail content so visually impaired subscribers can tell whether your e-mail is worth listening to in its entirety. Also make sure your text version adequately describes any video, images, charts, and graphics in your e-mail.

  • Use image descriptions (alt text) when including images in your e-mail, especially when they include text. Reading devices read alt text so a visually impaired person knows what images are in the e-mail.

  • Use easy-to-read fonts and point sizes for people with low vision. Make sure the text version of your e-mail avoids the use of absolute font sizes in your HTML so that your fonts can be enlarged.

  • Use text and background colors with sufficient contrast so that words are easy to read.

  • Provide a link to a text-only transcript of any audio used in your e-mail.

  • Make sure any forms you ask your subscribers to fill in can be tabbed through in a logical order and design your forms to minimize the number of keystrokes necessary to complete the form.

  • Keep your e-mail designs short, concise, and easy to scan. Avoid distracting design elements such as blinking text, flashing images, or audio and video streams that cannot be easily turned off.

If you use an E-Mail Marketing Provider to design your e-mails, ask about accessibility requirements. You can read more about making all your Internet marketing efforts accessible at the Web Accessibility Initiative.

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