Creating Accessible Email Messages

Email & Accessibility

We send email because we have a message that needs to be delivered, but not everyone can access information using vision alone. Email messages need to be readable by individuals with vision impairment/blindness, and anyone who relies on a computer screen reader to access the information.

Common Issues

It's easy to send a message that was designed as a flyer and attached or pasted into the email message as an image. However, screen readers cannot read the text in an image. If your message is designed and saved as an image, include the same information as text beneath the image to be read by a screen reader.

Create Accessible Email Messages

  • Choose HTML format rather than plain text or Rich Text
  • Use easy to read block fonts such as Arial or Verdana, at a minimum of 11 points
  • Provide sufficient contrast between text colors and backgrounds
  • Do not convey information using color alone
  • Avoid background images
  • Use Alt Text with images and set text wrapping to be In Line With Text
  • Add text to a message that is an image, such as a picture or a flyer, with the same information
  • Provide contact information with each message
  • Use meaningful hyperlink text that briefly describes the link destination, i.e., avoid Click Here
  • Avoid flashing content or links to sites with similar content
  • Make all attachments accessible

Infographic about Creating Accessible Email

Make your Outlook Email accessible
Outlook for Office 365, Outlook for Office 365 for Mac, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2016 for Mac, Outlook on the web for Office 365 Business,, Outlook 2019 for Mac, Outlook for iOS and Android, Outlook Mail for Windows 10, Outlook on the web for Exchange Server 2016


Inaccessible Email Message

This email message is an image only and cannot be read by a screen reader.

This email message is an image only and cannot be read by a screen reader.

Accessible Email Message

This email message includes informational text beneath the image and can be read by a screen reader.

This email message includes alternative text beneath the image. This message can be read by a screen reader.

When sending email messages for distribution to the campus, include readable text in the body of the message.

It's important to design messages with our audience in mind, including those who cannot rely on vision alone to access the message.

For more information, or for assistance with creating accessible email, please contact Tawn Gillihan, (209) 667-3470.

Broken Links in Email are Annoying and not Accessible

When using the Outlook Web App in your browser, follow these steps to avoid sending a message with a broken web link and to find the correct web address if you are sent a message with a broken link.

Stan State Accessible Email Instructions  

bk 01/19