Accessible Email

Like any digital content, emails need to be created in an accessible way. When content is accessible it works with assistive technologies like screen readers, personal voice assistants, speech to text, screen magnifiers, braille displays, keyboards, switches, etc. When emails are composed with accessibility in mind, they work better for everyone.

While various email programs and applications may vary in terms of what modifications can be made, there are some basic steps you can take with your content to help improve email accessibility.

Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities

Be clear with the email subject line

The subject line is basically a title for your email. Keep it succinct and meaningful. The subject line should provide the reader with a clear understanding of what the email entails. Avoid the use of punctuation and all caps, unless absolutely necessary.

Write in clear and simple language

When writing an email, keep the language simple, clear, and understandable. Remember that emails are generally meant to be a brief form of communication, and are usually skimmed or read quickly, so keep the information direct and to the point.

Flyers and Images of Text

Place your information in text format first, followed by the image or flyer. Key content from an image or an attachment should be included as text in the body of the email (for example, relevant information for an event invitation).

Use built in features like lists 

When applicable, use the built-in bulleted or numbered list feature to separate list items and ensure good readability.  

Font size and style

Keep the font size at a minimum of 12pt and the font style simple. Script fonts are much more difficult to read than plain sans-serif or serif fonts. Examples of good fonts include Calibri, Verdana, and Georgia. The default or “normal” setting for size and style in most email programs is most likely sufficient. Do not use yellow text, it does not pass color contrast requirements.

Provide descriptive hyperlinks

Hyperlink text should clearly describe where the link goes. Assistive technology can scan content using links, which means the user hears the link text out of context. Therefore, the link text should be concise and meaningful. Do not include full URLs, as assistive technology reads them in their entirety.

Avoid vague phrases, such as "click here," "learn more," "read about it here," etc. Also avoid using full sentences as a hyperlink.