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Email marketing for everyone: Designing an accessible user experience

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 29 Oct, 2018
Essential Essential topic

The way you design and code the emails can either create barriers or remove them

Emails are getting more and more popular with each passing day. However, it still needs work to make email marketing an inclusive place that everyone can use and understand. The way you design and code the emails can either create barriers or remove them.

Great email design starts by making it work for everyone. Everyone here includes the ‘specially abled’ individuals who perceive the world differently than the average user. Design does not simply imply how something looks. It surely is visually impressive, but it also meets the real needs of your readers.

I would like to quote Thomas Armstrong here:

“Instead of pretending that hidden away in a vault somewhere is a perfectly “normal” brain, to which all other brains must be compared … we need to admit that there is no standard brain, just as there is no standard flower, or standard cultural or racial group, and that, in fact, diversity among brains is just as wonderfully enriching as biodiversity and the diversity among cultures and races.” - (From: The New Field of Neurodiversity)

Accessible emails are designed taking into account the entire range of capabilities in addition to the limitations and environmental constraints.

How to design and code accessible emails?

  1. Your email copy should be written in such a way that your subscribers can quickly understand the gist of the message. Break down your copy into smaller sections that makes the email easily digestible.
  2. Use alt attribute inside every <img> tag with a suitable alternative text to go with the images.
  3. Do not include an animated GIF that flashes repeatedly as it can induce a photo-sensitive seizure in epileptic patients.
  4. Make sure your buttons are bullet-proof and selectable across the entire area using a finger or thumb.
  5. Enhance the readability of your emails by using ample white space. To make two paragraphs easily distinguishable, insert paragraph spacing.
  6. Keep the font size to minimum 14px and refrain from using thin or light-weight font types.
  7. It is strongly recommended to use default (left) alignment.
  8. Each line of text should be not of more than 60-70 characters for better organization of the columns.
  9. Semantic tags should be used to markup each piece of content.
  • <h1> tags for headlines
  • <h2> to <h6> tags for headings
  • <p> tags for paragraphs
  1. Include role=“presentation” inside every opening <table> tag so that the screen readers do not ‘read’ every cell within your email.

Accessibility matters and as the world is moving towards digitalization, it should be all the more important to make accessible emails your priority.

How to Make Emails Accessible: Best Practices and ToolsSource: How to Make Emails Accessible: Best Practices and Tools

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