National Disability Month – What Can Email Marketers Do To Help?

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National Disability Month

Did you know October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)? NDEAM is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. In honor of this special month, we want to address how we — the marketing world — can do our part by making email and the web accessible to everyone.

Design For Disabilities

Back in November of 2011, we posted an infographic, “Accessibility Challenges in Email Design,” in which we outlined the most common types of disabilities amongst Americans, along with eight email-friendly principles to ensure your messages are usable by all. Below are some tips, taken from the infographic, to help email marketers design for disabilities. Check out the infographic for additional details!

  1. Text-Only Option: Ensure your emails are sent in a multi-part MIME format & offer both text and HTML options.
  2. Be Mindful of Colors: Consider how content and copy may appear in an email to color deficient users.
  3. Know Your Hierarchy: Place important information higher in the email or follow a predictable flow that will help users focus and navigate through the email more easily.
  4. Clickable Links: Clickable links should be large and in an obvious location so they are easy to identify and click.
  5. Text Size: Use larger font sizes to accommodate visually impaired users.
  6. Keep It Ragged: Avoid using justified copy in your email since some users may find the harsh rivers and breaks in the paragraph too difficult to follow.
  7. Screen Readers: Consider how compatible your design is with popular screen readers and ensure a healthy balance of text and images in your design.
  8. Harmful Content: Content that flashes at certain rates or in patterns can cause photo-sensitive seizures in some individuals so avoid flashing content.

Transcribe Infographics

After posting one of our infographics, like the accessibility one mentioned above, we got feedback that the infographic itself wasn’t accessible since it was one large image & a screen reader wouldn’t be able to pick up any of the text on it. We were extremely grateful for this recommendation and have been transcribing our infographics ever since! For example, in this post, you can find the transcription of the infographic immediately under the image.

Test Emails for Color Blindness

Color blindness affects 8% of males and 1% of females around the world, which leads to difficulty distinguishing between colors; the majority of color blind individuals are unable to distinguish differences between red and green. As a result of this common disability, we created a color blindness filter, which allows users to simulate what a person with red-green color deficiency might see when viewing your email. Use this filter to check to see if there is sufficient color contrast in text and images to ensure that content is easily distinguishable to individuals with color blindness.

Color Blindness Filter

Additional Resources

Do you have any additional recommendations for how email marketers can better design for disabilities? We’d love to hear them!