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Checklist for ensuring that your email is accessible

  • Your message has a meaningful subject line
  • All images have alternative text
  • If color is used a minimum 4.5:1 color contrast ratio between text and background, or a minimum of 3:1 contrast ratio for heading text is maintained
  • Images are not used in place of text, the only exception being logo text
  • All hyperlinks are descriptive (no “click here” or repeated links "more"). Ideally, the hyperlink should be the name of the page or resource you are linking to.
  • Hyperlinks to non-web resources include the resource type as part of the link, for example (PDF) or (YouTube).
  • Longer emails use properly nested headings for structure and navigation
  • Tables are not used for page layout or, if they must be used, they include role="presentation" to indicate that it is a layout table not a data table

About email attachments

Email attachments, while sometimes necessary, should be considered carefully. Quite often, even the most carefully designed PDF will pose an accessibility issue for users of assistive technology. PDF is rarely the best format for distributing information electronically. Consider including the information in the text of the email rather than asking the user to download a PDF or, alternatively, consider linking to a web page. This will not only make your email  more accessible, but it is less likely to be identified by the recipient's email service provider as spam, will be less likely to be perceived as a possible security risk, and is more likely to be read by the intended recipient!

If you must include an attachment, be sure to give it a meaningful filename, communicate in the body of the email exactly what the attachment is and the type of information it contains. 

For More Information

For more information about creating accessible emails, see Make Your Outlook Email Accessible to People with Disabilities


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