Ensuring Email Accessibility: Best Practices

Dive into the importance of email accessibility, understanding techniques and tools to ensure every subscriber can access your content..

Inclusivity in Email Marketing

Like society, business continually evolves to be more inclusive and accessible. Advertising embraces diversity in casting and messaging. Products get designed for accessibility. But email marketing remains stuck in the past, still overwhelmingly optimized for the young, able-bodied few.

This disconnect means many potential customers get left behind. Over 15% of the global population lives with some disability making accessing content challenging. Plus, as subscribers age, conditions like farsightedness and hearing loss grow more prevalent.

For these demographics, poorly constructed emails translate to frustration and barriers. But convenient excuses for maintaining status quo are running out. Both advancing regulation and morality make building inclusive subscriber experiences an emerging obligation.

This requires rethinking both creative and technical facets of your program. Adopting inclusive best practices improves life for underserved audiences while expanding your reach. Now is the time to ensure email accessibility for all.

Significance: The Importance of Accessible Emails

Along with being the right thing to do ethically, prioritizing accessibility comes with bottom-line incentives:

πŸ‘‰ Expanded Audience - 14% of US adults live with a disability according to the CDC. An accessible program includes them.

πŸ‘‰ Global Reach - Many countries legally require accessibility as part of anti-discrimination laws. Comply to tap new markets.

πŸ‘‰ Future-Proofing - As populations age, the need for accessibility grows. Be ready to serve this lucrative group.

πŸ‘‰ Reduced Liability - Lawsuits over inaccessible sites and services are rising. Avoid risk by making inclusion core to your brand.

πŸ‘‰ Enhanced Brand - Consumers gravitate toward brands reflecting their values. Lead with empathy.

πŸ‘‰ Lower Costs - Small tweaks may be needed versus expensive retrofitting if accessibility was an afterthought.

πŸ‘‰ Goodwill - Being an ally for often marginalized groups earns community goodwill.

πŸ‘‰ Loyalty - When disabled users find a compatible brand, data shows they will return frequently.

Accessibility lifts all boats - subscribers, community, and marketers alike. Bake it in from the start for maximum benefit at minimal burden.

Techniques: Crafting Accessible Content

Email accessibility starts with content itself before considering specialized technology. Follow guidelines like:

βœ… Use Clear Language

Write straightforwardly, avoiding confusing jargon or figures of speech that may be misinterpreted. Stick to common terms.

βœ… Provide Text Alternatives

All images should have descriptive alt text explaining what they convey. Videos should include transcripts.

βœ… Structure Content

Use semantic HTML elements like headers and lists to make pages navigable for screen readers.

βœ… Contrast Text Visually

Black on white provides the best visual contrast for legibility. Avoid similarly light or busy backgrounds.

βœ… Avoid Relying On Color

Don’t use color alone to convey meaning that screen reader users won’t grasp.

βœ… Size Text Legibly

Body text over 12px with headlines over 18px ensures readability. Enable user overrides.

βœ… Space Elements Clearly

Provide padding between elements so items don’t run together confusingly.

βœ… Support Keyboard Navigation

Ensure all links, buttons and page elements can be accessed by keyboard alone without a mouse.

βœ… Write Concise But Descriptive Links

Links should make sense out of context. Use descriptive text over generic placeholders like β€œclick here”.

βœ… Test Readability

Do ongoing reads of your emails using only a screen reader to catch issues.

Following accessibility guidelines may seem restrictive at first. But practices like writing clearly, structuring content logically, and providing text alternatives actually benefit all users.

Tools: Platforms and Plugins for Accessibility

Technology opens further avenues for inclusive email marketing:

βœ… Accessible Templates

Start with email service provider templates already optimized for accessibility.

βœ… ARIA Markup

Use ARIA roles and attributes to improve screen reader compatibility.

βœ… Accessibility Checkers

Plug email drafts into tools like wave.webaim.org to scan for areas needing improvement.

βœ… Image Analyzers

Automatically generate alt text descriptions of images using machine learning algorithms.

βœ… Contrast Checkers

Verify foreground and background colors meet minimum contrast ratios for readability.

βœ… Screen Readers

Directly experience your emails through leading software screen readers like JAWS, VoiceOver etc.

βœ… Accessibility Apps

Browser extensions like Accessibility Insights make web accessibility auditing seamless.

βœ… Email Previews

See how emails appear in different configurations with litmus.com to optimize inclusion.

βœ… Segmentation

Craft alternative content formats like plain text for non-HTML subscribers.

Between thoughtful design considerations and supporting technology, brands can remove unnecessary barriers to make email engagement seamless for all.

The Ethical and Practical Sides of Email Accessibility

At its core, email accessibility stems from a mindset of empowering every subscriber regardless of ability or age. It acknowledges differences, then thoughtfully designs inclusive experiences through that lens of universal benefit.

This foundation of doing what’s morally right matters most. But the byproduct of accessibility is also winning market advantages. Tapping into under-addressed audiences expands reach into profitable segments. Building goodwill through inclusion attracts brand support.

Accessibility is not a burden but rather a feature when made central to email marketing from the start. Ensure your team has training, processes and technology in place to consistently execute inclusive practices. Support subscribers through challenges large and small by incorporating helpful adaptations.

With care and creativity, you can craft email experiences that resonate universally across the diverse spectrum of humanity. Meet subscribers wherever they are, and guide them to wherever they want to be. Prioritize accessibility today, and reap rewards for your brand and community far into the future.

HeyπŸ‘‹, Thanks for diving into this article! Hope you found it handy. If you're curious about email marketing, we've got another article you might like. Check it out! - The Role of Interactive Content in Emails!

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