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The Essential Email Accessibility Checklist

How to create accessible, compliant emails every time

When your emails can be easily read by every customer, prospect, and employee, you'll ensure equal access to critical digital communications. This checklist shows you the top ten ways.

What's Inside

  • Use real digital text, not images of text
  • Ensure images have accurate text alternatives
  • Ensure text can be read by using colors with strong contrast
  • Make link and button labels clear and meaningful
  • Avoid (or fix) formatting and layout tables
  • And so much more!

Why do emails need to be accessible to people with disabilities?

The case for email accessibility is strong.

More than 300 billion emails are sent each day, each representing an opportunity to include or exclude. Whether you’re more inclined to care about marketing success, compliance, or simple communication efficiency, the effectiveness of digital messages hinges on their usability and readability — for everyone.

  • Digital accessibility can help ensure key messages are delivered, improve click-through rates, and improve marketing success.
  • Emails are often legally required to be accessible. Section 508, for example, explicitly applies to email. Email accessibility may also fall under the Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), depending on the purpose and sender.

Can WCAG be applied to emails?

Absolutely. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) can be applied broadly to digital content, including emails — especially HTML emails.

Several WCAG success criteria are directly applicable to email, including but in no way limited to:

  • 1.1.1 Non-text Content
  • 1.3.1 Info and Relationships
  • 1.4.1 Use of Color
  • 1.4.3 Contrast
  • 2.4.4 Link Purpose
  • 2.4.6 Headings and Labels

Is it hard to make emails accessible?

Usually not. By applying some basic accessibility best practices to your emails, you can make a big impact in how usable they are for recipients with disabilities.

For example, did you know that swapping out a “click here” link for something more descriptive instantly makes your email more accessible and engaging?

This free checklist is packed with tips to improve email accessibility right away and every time.

Download the Free Checklist