Making Your Email Accessible

Does your email contain black and white text with no images or links? If so, then it is already accessible and there is nothing more to do.  Otherwise, please check for the following:

    • 1Scanned Flyers

      Though not preferred to a webpage, it is acceptable to scan a flyer and insert (or attach it) to an email if

      1. You add alternative text (Alt Text) to the image of the flyer
      2. Copy any verbiage in the flyer image into the body of the email.


      Guidelines

      • Alt text should be descriptive and should describe the purpose of why the picture was added. It is not necessary to describe all elements of the picture, especially if the details are not important to your intended audience
      • Alt text should be short similar to the 140 character limit of a tweet.
      • Sample Alt

       

      Alt Text Sample

       

      The text in this graphic has also been added to the email itself.


      To add alt text to a picture or image in an email:

      1. Insert a picture
      2. Right Click the image (Command Click on a Mac)
      3. Click Format Picture
      4. Click Layout & Properties

      Alt Text Entry Window in Outlook

      1. Click the Alt Text arrow
      2. In the Description area under Alt Text, enter words to describe the purpose of the picture
      3. Press the Enter key to save

      Important: Do not enter anything in the Title field

    • 2Images and Pictures

      Alternative text (Alt Text) must be added to all images and pictures

      • Alt text should be descriptive and should describe the purpose of why the picture was added. It is not necessary to describe all elements of the picture, especially if the details are not important to your intended audience
      • Alt text should be short similar to the way a tweet is limited to 140 characters.
      • It is acceptable to use a phrase such as For Decoration Only as your alt text.
      • Sample Alt

       

      Alt Text Sample

       

      The text in this graphic has also been added to the email itself.


      To add alt text to a picture or image in an email:

      1. Insert a picture
      2. Right Click the image (Command Click on a Mac)
      3. Click Format Picture
      4. Click Layout & Properties

      Alt Text Entry Window in Outlook

      1. Click the Alt Text arrow
      2. In the Description area under Alt Text, enter words to describe the purpose of the picture
      3. Press the Enter key to save

      Important: Do not enter anything in the Title field

    • 3Links
      The highlighted text of a hyperlink should be unique and meaningful such that it clearly describes where the link will take the viewer. For example, “Annual Report to the Community” versus the generic “click here.”
    • 4Color
      Color must not be the sole method for providing information or emphasis. Instead, it is preferable to use bold, italic, or incorporate symbols, such as an asterisk. To make your text easy to read, use dark text on light backgrounds or light text on dark backgrounds. In technical terms, the contrast ratio between text and background must better than 4.5:1 in order to meet the WCAG 2.1 Level AA contrast standard.
    • 5Tables

      Best Practices for Accessible Tables

      1.  Avoid using tables in an email, especially if the tables are used only to format items into columns. 
      2. Do not merge tables cells.
      3. Do not nest (i.e., insert a table within another table).


      Headers

      If a table is used, the column and row headers must be set.

      1. Select the top row of the table.
      2. Right click (Command click on a Mac) and choose Table Properties.
      3. Navigate to the Row tab.
      4. Uncheck the Allow row to break across pages check box in the Options section.
      5. Check the Repeat as header row at the top of each page checkbox.


      Add Alternative Text

      1. Navigate to the Alt Text tab
      2. Enter a unique and meaningful Title
      3. Enter a Description that briefly describes the purpose of the table


      Clean Up

      1. Delete blank table rows (if applicable)
      2. Enter Text into all cells, leaving no blank cells
    • 6 Font Size
      Use a larger font size (11pt or larger), sans-serif fonts, and sufficient white space.
    • 7Headings and Styles

      For longer emails, it is advisable to add structure and styling such as headings, bulleted lists, and bold or Italic formatting, the same as you would to make a Word document accessible.

      Tip:  Write your email using Microsoft Word first, style it, and then cut and paste it into your email before sending.

Do Not

  • Do not scan a flyer and attach it to an email without adding alternate text to the graphic image and making sure all verbiage in the graphic is duplicated and available in text format within the body of the email.
  • Do not add a link to a video that is not able to display captions.
  • Do not attach or add a link to a PDF or other document that does not pass an accessibility scan.