Email marketing is all about treating your user base in a way that can diminish any barrier that comes with disabilities!
Making technology accessible to the larger population, including people with partial impairments or temporary physical ailments, is the ultimate goal. With the web being smarter and accessible with each passing day, businesses are taking differently-abled people into account to come up with websites, social platforms, online shopping, and overall digital experience in compliance with their disabilities.
Email marketing is the most preferred communication channel and if you are allotting a significant amount of time and budget to it, make sure the campaigns you design put out accessible emails that are impactful.
Today, we are going to talk about all the essential aspects that need to be taken care of while crafting accessible emails. Let’s get started!
Accessible Emails – How to Design Them Right?
Accessibility in emails is one of the mainstays for user experience and engagement. When you keep accessibility elements in mind, you work around visual and coding aspects that go well for people with disabilities and assistive devices they may be using.
Crafting responsive emails is not enough, you need to think beyond screens to improve your user experience.
Let us explore all elements you should take into consideration while designing accessible email campaigns.
Visual Aspects and Email Readability
The first thing that goes into accessible email template designing is how the receiver perceives it. Before reading and grasping the content, your user will scan the entire email template, and that’s where you need to use visual properties wisely.
The Palette Game
The email subscribers in your list that are color-blind face difficulties in differentiating between some colors. It is necessary that you use baseline colors from the palette, and if not, at least place the contrasting colors smartly that can improve the overall placements of the present email content elements.
Be Thoughtful before Going Flashy
Flashy elements like the pop of colors, motion, animation, and more might help you grab attention, but they are not apt for the people with sensitive sight. Try to be as subtle as possible with your GIFs, videos, and images keeping people with poor or sensitive eyesight in mind.
Now the text-to-image ratio is not only related to the accessibility for people with disabilities. Of course, it is an important aspect as people with complete or partial blindness use screen readers to understand all that is available on the template, but even from an email design perspective, the ratio should be such that can complement each other and not overlap or shadow one another.
You should test your email design’s compatibility with a few screen readers to get a better idea about how it will come out when your recipients will read it.
Readability is yet another visual property in email accessibility. If you are targeting desktop and laptop users, anything less than 14 pixels may seem difficult to read. For the smaller screens like mobile devices, you can use media queries to increase the font size from 14 to 16 pixels.
You cannot expect your readers to zoom-in zoom-out to read your content. Specifically, people with partial disabilities require larger, clearer fonts to read the message. Accordingly, you cannot miss out on making the template designs responsive to mobile screens.
Google Web Fonts are saviors for HTML email developers as they’ve enabled using various fonts that were not available before. But, when it comes to accessibility in emails, choosing the right typeface is vital. Go for the typefaces that are less-condensed and evenly spaced.
On the other hand, line spacing between paragraphs and grids needs to be adjusted so that the content is easily readable and not cluttered.
Tip: Do not justify your email copies as inconsistent word-spacing makes them hard to read.
Technical Aspects and Accessible Touchpoints
Using the <p> and <h> tags to craft your email content framework is how you make your emails accessible to the people using screen readers. Moreover, these tags are supported by almost all the email clients, irrespective of poor or upgraded system support.
The call-to-action (CTA) buttons hold an important place in email templates. They should be eye-catchy and at the same time, easily accessible. People with mouse-control difficulties or unsteady scrolling should be able to recognize, comprehend, and take action via the placed CTA button. For subscribers seeing your email on their mobile devices – the button should be scrollable and tappable with fingers and thumb.
Tip: The ideal height and width for a CTA button are found to be between 45-57 pixels.
Redirecting Link Texts
Whether you put up buttons or link images to the redirecting landing pages, it is advisable to be concise and to-the-point about where the link will land. For instance, when an email from an apparel brand shows similar clothes, instead of just putting ‘explore more’ the copy should read as ‘explore similar products’. Again, people with screen readers should not get confused with the text that reads ‘click here’ because that can send an unclear message.
Hire an HTML email developer who is well-versed with such an important best practice of email designing. This basic rule of thumb of using ALT-tags for all the images, videos, CTAs, and other elements is something you should stand by. Not only for people with disabilities, but the ALT attributes are also vital for people using a slow internet connection, poor-email client support, and in case of broken email links. These tags help subscribers to understand the correlation between a particular element being present at that particular spot.
Email Accessibility in Action
Now that we have understood about the email accessibility properties that are necessary, the final step, after you design your emails, is to test them for optimal accessibility. There are many online and app-based email accessibility testers available. In fact, email service providers like Mailchimp, SFMC, and more provide built-in features of accessibility checks as well. Go to any of these testers to obtain maximum email accessibility. Here is an example of an email template tested on Litmus tester. The screenshots show how it explains the areas where improvements are needed.
Pro tip: Visual cues and reading-perseverance are the two crucial components when it comes to accessibility in emails. Designing your campaigns becomes easy when you keep these in mind.
Sending out accessible emails makes your email campaigns more approachable and actionable. Make use of the above-listed best practices to craft accessible emails. If you still need help with attaining optimal email accessibility, consult experienced email developers and never forget to test, test, and optimize.