Use Descriptive Subject Lines
Subject lines should be brief but descriptive, and give subscribers an accurate idea of what's in your email.
Use a Logical Structure
Remember that your email will be read on a variety of devices. If you are using a multi-column layout, remember to test your email so that you can see how it will look on desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
When testing, be sure that columns, headings and images appear in the intended order for mobile devices. This will also help screen readers produce content in the intended order.
Keeping a logical reading order can also help those with dyslexia to maintain reading flow.
Your subscribers who use screen readers rely on page elements such as tables and headers to determine the informational hierarchy of a webpage or HTML email; proper use of these HTML elements allows them to scan and navigate the email to find the information that is relevant or interesting to them.
Using HTML semantic headings such as <h1> and <h2> to identify important sections of your content can be helpful, but they should be used in the proper context and not simply to visually style content.
Stylized elements can help an email look nice, but they can cause accessibility issues if misused.
Use Color Contrast
To ensure legibility, especially for subscribers who may have color blindness, text should have high-contrast from its background and hyperlinked text should have contrast from non-hyperlinked text. A free color contrast tool can be found on the WebAIM website at webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker.
Keep Fonts Legible
Remember to pay attention to both the font size and the font weight. Recommended font size is a minimum of 14px. (For example, the paragraph text used on this webpage is Roboto Sans Serif, 14px, normal weight.)
Avoid Center Aligned Paragraphs
Center aligned text can be aesthetically pleasing, however it can pose problems for subscribers with dyslexia. If you are going to use centered text, use it sparingly and on short bodies of text; keep large bodies of text left-aligned.
Use Images Wisely
Don't "Hide" or "Trap" Text in Images
Subscribers who use a screen reader, or have images blocked in their email client, aren't going to see information in images or infographics. Make sure the most critical content in your message is presented in text, and use images to complement that text.
Balance the Use of Text and Images
Images can help sighted subscribers scan an email and find the content relevant to them, however subscribers using a screen reader will have to listen to both the text and images descriptions. Make sure that images are relevant and supplement the email content and aren't used only for visual aesthetics.
Use Proper Alt Text for Images
Alt text, or alternative text, is a brief description of an image that's displayed when a subscriber can't view your images. Alt text should be short but descriptive, and highlight the relevance of the image to your message.
Be Mindful of Movement in Animated GIFs and Videos
Content that flashes at certain rates or in patterns, such as animated GIFs, can cause photo-sensitive seizures in some individuals. Avoid flashing content or including links to videos that may have similar content.
Check the Accessibility of LInked Documents and Media
If you include links to videos in your campaigns, offer a transcript for subscribers with hearing impairments in your campaign or on the page hosting your video.
If you include links to PDFs, ensure the linked documents meet accessibility standards.
Use Meaningful Text for Hyperlinks
When you provide a hyperlink, the text used for the hyperlink should be descriptive. Avoid creating links that say, "Click Here," instead say something like "Click here to view the complete schedule."
Include a Plain-Text Version
Plain-text emails are a simplified version of your email. A plain-text email cannot contain any design elements, images, embedded links or HTML formatting.
It is important to carefully review the logical flow of a plain-text email to ensure that line breaks are used appropriately and that there is no text that refers to elements that may appear in the designed version of the email.
In this example, the reference to the image would need to be removed:
"Mike and Jane (pictured in the image below) received this year's faculty award."
Any hyperlinks provided in the designed email would need to have the URLs revealed in the plain-text email.
For example, if the designed email provides this link:
The plain text version would need to provide this link:
View a complete list of all LSU Colleges and Schools [http://www.lsu.edu/academics/index.php]
If you have questions or require assistance running an accessibility check on your email communications, please contact a web developer in the Division of Strategic Communications.