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Creating Accessible Emails

We use email to give recipients important, even critical, information—and we also use email to encourage recipients to do things like attend an event or sign up for a course. The individuals who read our emails may be seeing them on a mobile device or they may be using a screen reader or other assistive technology to understand what we send. 

» Basic Accessibility Guidelines

Review our Basic Accessibility Guidelines first; they apply to all digital and electronic content. The following guidelines are particularly important or specific to email.

Subject Lines

Clearly state the subject of your email in the subject line. 

Not Great: course registration
Very Good: Register for Winter Session Courses

Color

Use high-contrast colors for backgrounds and text. Some colors that look "nice" may not stand out on various backgrounds and readers with low vision will struggle to read your message.

Use the WebAIM Color Contrast Tool to check the colors you'd like to use for fonts and graphics.

Links

Use meaningful link text. If you link to words like "click here," it can be confusing to those with cognitive impairments and it prevents screen reader users from understanding what they should click on.

Yes: Learn About Video Captioning
No: Click here to learn about video captioning.

Don't include a URL in your email unless it is very short. Like the example above, a URL doesn't tell the recipient what you want them to find when they click on the link. Additionally, screen readers will read every single letter, number, and symbol, which can be frustrating for recipients who are blind or have low vision.

Acceptable: fitnyc.edu/register
Yes: Use Jamboard for Remote Teaching 
No: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9m4HCjOkcA 

Images and Graphics

Images and graphics should be used alongside plain text, not in place of plain text. In other words, do not create a graphic (such as an invitation) that contains all the information you want to convey to your reader and then use that as the content of your message. Screen readers don't recognize text unless is appears in the body of the email. 

No:    ""

Yes:   ""

Please join us to celebrate
the 21st birthday of

Jonathan Samuelson

Saturday, December 21, 8 pm
The Celebration Hall
1234 Party Road
New York, NY 10000

Animated GIFs

Do not use looped GIFs. Any content that is longer than five seconds must allow the recipient to stop and start the content. 

Do not include content that flashes more than three times per second. 

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