Email marketing, the most prominent way of reaching to potential customers. Potential customers include customers who are older in age, those who have physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities. However these mailers are not reaching a large set of customers. This is because accessible emails are not part of your campaign.
Why is accessible emails relevant for you?
According to The Guardian every 1 in 5 pounds spend in the UK is from those who have age more than 65. This is 20% of the UKs total spending. This will be more or less similar in other developed countries too. The World Health Organization estimates 15% of world’s population lives with some form of disability. This is unrecognized by most of the email advertisements. So, most of the emails are not designed keeping this large population in mind. In addition your business is likely to face high legal risk, many countries have anti-discrimination laws that govern the rights of persons with disabilities, customer loyalty along with the competitive advantage.
What’s the problem?
It is very likely that most of the marketing emails we receive are deleted or moved to trash just by reading the sender or subject. The very few emails that are attractive or relevant for the customer will be attended. If these few emails that are attended by the customer are uncomfortable to read, aren’t you losing the potential customer?
When I say uncomfortable to read or interact means the content you shared have potential accessibility problems. People who have age old difficulties such as poor vision, trimmers in hands or disabilities such as blindness, cognitive, physical disabilities cannot access the content in the email. This means you are ignoring around 35% of the customers, than the customers ignoring the marketing emails.
How can you capture this large untapped market?
Create Accessible Emails
Creating accessible emails is not a charity work or business case, it is the right thing to do. Following are few basic things to consider.
Do not create any mailer that is purely an image. The text imbedded in the image can neither be read by screen readers used by blind users nor can be allowed to increase the text size for low vision users. So, use real text and present the visuals as images.
- Use colors wisely. Remember that approximately one in 12 men have color related problems. Users with low vision and age old people add to this count. Do not use colors that are tough to differentiate or those do not have enough color contrast. W3C WCAG 2.0 recommends to have a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5 : 1 between the text color and it’s background.
- Do not exclusively depend on sensory characteristics such as shape, size, visual location, orientation or color to convey some information. For instance, for the links available within a paragraph should have an additional identifier such as underline along with change in color. This allows low vision, color blind and users who have cognitive difficulties efficiently identify the link from the surrounding content.
- Provide enough clickable / touch target region when the mailers have actionable items such as links or buttons. People may be accessing the emails from phone, those who have trimmers, those who cannot point the mouse in small target region benefit from large clickable area.
- Images such as logos or important images that convey meaning must have alternate text description available. This will allow screen reader users to have the right information.
- Use HTML semantics for the content. Use h1 to h6 heading elements instead of increasing the font sizes and styles. Use HTML lists instead of design styles to show the list of items. Screen reader users can only understand the meaning supplied through the semantics not the styles.
- Actionable elements like links and buttons should clearly express what happens if the user interacts. This should be available visually as well as programmatically.
- Other email specific requirements such as clear subject line, getting straight to the point and additional ways of checking the content of the email should be the part of the content.