Importance for Accessibility
Ensuring access to the information contained in email communication protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities and is required by our university accessibility policies.
- NEVER use images of text if it is the sole method of communicating to your audience.
- When images are necessary, they must contain descriptive alt text.
- Make sure decorative images are marked with a null alt text tag.
- How to add a null alt text tag to your image file.
- Make sure a plain text version of the email is available.
- Use font size 14 or 16 when composing your email as smaller font sizes can be difficult to read on mobile devices.
- Use color contrast checkers when selecting your colors.
- We recommend you use the University Marketing approved color palette.
- Use the accessibility checker built into Outlook when composing emails.
- Stay away from trendy font styles that are difficult to read.
- NEVER use justified copy as it creates issues with reading your content. Text that is left-aligned is recommended.
- Know your audience and write to their level. ADA guidelines recommend writing at an 8th grade level.
- You can test your copy using the Flesch Reading test in Outlook and Word.
When creating an email, use the following workflow to simplify making the email accessible.
- Use Microsoft Word when composing email
- When your content is complete, use the accessibility checker in Microsoft Word to correct accessibility issues
- Copy/Paste your content into Outlook
- Run Outlook's accessibility checker to correct any errors introduced when transferring the content from Word into Outlook
Using this method will allow you to style titles, apply alt text to images and ensure correct column layouts prior to putting your work into Outlook. This will greatly simplify your accessibility workflow and ensure inclusive emails are sent to our university community.
Outlook Email Support
Need help using Outlook to create accessible emails? Please use Microsoft's robust Outlook accessible email guide.