Five tips for writing accessible emails

1. Use descriptive subject lines. As with most tasks, reading email takes longer for those using a screen reader or other assistive technology. Writing brief, descriptive subject lines helps the reader scan their email to get the main ideas and decide what to open first.

2. Don’t use color to convey information. Color blindness and other visual impairments can cause people to interpret color and contrast differently. In addition, many screen readers are programmed to interpret bold or italicized text as emphasized. Using color for emphasis will not be conveyed in the same way.

3. Choose an easy-to-read typeface. Common sans serif fonts like Arial, Calibri and Helvetica are easiest to read on a screen.

4. Apply your hyperlinks to descriptive text rather than pasting in a URL or using vague text like “click here” or “this link.” Using in-text links makes it much clearer where a link will take the user.

5. Even when emailing internally, do not assume that since you know your recipient you know whether or not they “need” an accessible email. No one is obligated to disclose their medical needs or personal preferences. In addition, basic accessibility best practices make emails easier for everyone to read.