An often overlooked area of accessibility is the creation of accessible emails. As emails exist as a primary mode of communication in much of daily life, it is important to make the content accessible to all users. The following are best practices for creating accessible emails using Microsoft Outlook and Gmail.
Gmail supports the use of screen readers and other devices for accessibility. See using Gmail with a screen reader for more information.
Steps for using the Accessibility Checker in Outlook are the same as for Word Documents.
To create accessible emails it is a good idea to avoid including images and graphics of any kind to begin with as they can be difficult to access and will not load for people who have images blocked in their email account. If images or graphics are necessary, avoid housing the entirety of the informational content of the email within the image or graphic itself and add alt text. Alt text allows the content to be read to those using screen readers and replaces the image for people who have images blocked.
To add alt text in Outlook:
To add alt text in Gmail:
Unfortunately Gmail does not have a built in option to add alternative text to images or graphics. Alt text should be added using the following steps:
When adding hyperlinks to an email, it is a good practice to use meaningful text as screen readers read the hyperlink text to the user. Using the entire URL for the link text is unwieldy and using generic phrases such as “Click Here” or the like gives the user no information about the content or context of the link. Screen readers also navigate through documents via creating a list of links devoid of surrounding content to present to the user so having meaningful text is important.
Steps for using the Accessibility Checker are the same as for Word Documents.