7 practical ways to design accessible emails, so that everyone can read, reply, and act

Kevin George
7 practical ways to design accessible emails, so that everyone can read, reply, and act

Deliver email content in a way that everyone, including those subscribers with some form of visual, hearing, neurological, cognitive or learning disabilities can perceive, consume and engage with

Emails are being sent and received by people all day, every day, across the world. According to a survey by Radicati Group, there are around 2.9 billion active email users worldwide and these include people of all age groups and type, including your specially-abled subscribers.

Email marketers across industries strive to create engaging emails and provide seamless user experience to their subscribers. But, have you ever thought if your emails are reaching all your target audience and serving the purpose of your email?

To make sure your message reaches all your end users, you need to consider accessibility in emails!

Why is Accessibility in Email Marketing important?

Accessibility in emails is the practice of creating and delivering email content in a way that everyone, including those subscribers with some form of visual, hearing, neurological, cognitive or learning disabilities can perceive, consume and engage with.

According to WHO, more than 1 billion people in the world suffer from some form of disability. While over 253 million people have some form of visual impairment, 15% of American adults suffer from hearing ailments. Moreover, as much as 17% of the world’s population suffers from Dyslexia in some form.

At the same time, it is also true that your specially-abled subscribers use the internet as much as any other people, using assistive technologies such as screen readers, magnifiers, reading assistants, eye-tracking systems, etc. Hence, when you create emails, you need to consider these audiences and the assistive devices to ensure the message is conveyed and the desired result is achieved.

Making your Emails Accessible: Best Practices

Here are some design and coding considerations and best practices to follow while building accessible emails.

1. Copy: Keep it simple and concise

The copy of your email needs to be as simple and crisp as possible. Get straight to the point and include only relevant information in the form of short paragraphs. Divide your content into sections and highlight the important sections. Use the default left alignment for your email text and make sure the content follows hierarchy and maintains a proper flow for the readers to quickly understand the message.

Also read: An effective email gives a distinct reminder of your brand, delivers the intended message, and compels you to click

2. Imagery: Provide appropriate alt-texts

If your email contains images, they should be illustrative and should not be used to convey the key message. Avoid using flashy GIFs and colors in the imagery as this will cause photo-sensitive seizures to those with vision impairments. All the images should have suitable descriptive alternative text that would convey the message even if the image fails to render or the viewer fails to perceive it.

3. Fonts: Use readable ones

Your email should have large and readable fonts. For headings, use decorative, Serif or Sans-serif typefaces and for the body copy always use Sans-serif fonts such as Arial and Roboto. You need to use a single font style for your entire email and the minimum size of your fonts need to be 14px to be legible. Avoid using thin and lightweight fonts for the body copy.

4. Colours: Use the prominent color schemes

While creating emails, you must keep in mind your subscribers with color vision deficiencies. Use the contrast colours for the text, images, and backgrounds. Avoid using bright and complex color schemes and avoid conveying the key message using just colors. Use a combination of light text over dark background and dark text over light background to improve readability.

5. Spacing: Use enough white space

Use enough white space in your email copy to give your email a good breathing space. Subscribers with reading disabilities find it difficult to read heaps of content and images that are not spaced and grouped properly. Insert margins and paragraph spacings to give proper spacing to the text and increase its readability.

Also read: 5 email marketing tips proven to work really fast for startups

6. CTA Buttons: Make them prominent

The call-to-action (CTA) buttons in your emails should be bullet-proof and prominent. If you include multiple buttons in your email, then make sure you write a different call-to-action for each one of them. All your buttons should have a minimum height of 44px and should be selectable across the entire area.

7. Links: Highlight them

If you include clickable links in your email, make sure they are highlighted and prominent. Use different colors and text styles to make the links easily noticeable. Add links to long texts and the actual CTA instead of text that instructs subscribers how to respond to your calls to action to avoid confusion. For example, in the term “Click Here to Unsubscribe”, add the link to just Unsubscribe, instead of giving a link to Click Here.

Some more tips …

  • Your accessible emails must be only HTML as it lets you use semantic tags such as ,


    , etc., unlike plain-text.

  • Maintain the right balance of text and images in your emails.
  • Build your emails to be responsive and compatible across smartphones, screen-readers and all major assistive devices.
  • Use crisp and self-explanatory subject lines that convey what’s inside the email to improve open rates.
  • Keep your accessible email code concise to avoid renderability issues across devices.
  • Test your emails thoroughly for accessibility before hitting the send button using tools such as AChecker, Wave Tool, etc.

Wrapping Up

Know your audience well and design and code accessible emails to get the most out of your campaigns. Follow these design and coding best practices and make sure you test your emails well before sending them, to give everyone in your email list a seamless email experience.


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