Almost 20% of both Americans and Australians have some form of disability – and yet within both the web and email communities, there’s little to no conversation around how we can make our messages accessible to everyone.
This is unusual for a number of reasons. First of all, the number of people with vision impairments on many subscriber lists likely exceeds the number using email clients like Gmail. Secondly, designing for accessibility – or quite simply, allowing as many people to read your message as possible – is the ethical thing to do. Thirdly, there’s a tangible financial benefit to sending accessible messages, especially when sending to an older demographic that may be more prone to vision issues – but may also have more disposable income. And finally, designing for accessibility is often a requirement when dealing with government clients – in the US, Section 508 laws require that “agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to access available to others”. Similar laws exist elsewhere.
Despite these clear arguments, almost no time or resources are spent on testing email campaigns for accessibility. Why is this the case?
When talking to people about the reasons for not addressing accessibility issues when designing for email, the feedback is quite similar to what I’ve heard from the web design community. Quite simply, while the W3C and others have done a fantastic job at developing Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), these haven’t been translated into best practices which designers can not only internalize, but rapidly apply to their everyday work.
Master email accessibility during your coffee break
By joining forces with Vision Australia, we’ve translated years of work on the W3C’s guidelines and experience consulting businesses and government agencies, into 3 short chapters that address email design – and designers – specifically. Within minutes, you’ll learn the fundamentals to designing accessible email campaigns, receive guidance on testing and tools and finally, receive a handy pre-flight checklist to help you cover all your bases. And no, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand it all.
So, take a moment to upskill today – and not only learn about the unique requirements of vision impaired email subscribers, but in minutes, become the authority on how to design, test and send accessible email campaigns.
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