Building Emails for Accessibility: Auditing Your Work (Part 3 of 3)

This is the third part of a three-part series on developing emails for accessibility. While my recommendations focus on the concerns of developers, they also contain information useful for anyone on an email marketing team.

The series will include the following parts:

  • Part 1: Layout & Design Elements
  • Part 2: Tags & Clean Coding
  • Part 3: Auditing Your Work

In Part 3 here, I will discuss ways to audit your work to ensure it meets the needs of all potential subscribers.

Handy Testing Tools

There are tools you can use to audit web pages and email builds.

One I like to use is Google's Accessibility Developer Tools extension for Chrome. This runs in your Inspect in Chrome and can detect areas that may need more attention. Of course, you’ll have to modify the audit based on how we build emails these days; it will detect in-line css as a performance issue:

To test linear readability, use WAI HTML Table Linearizer. Add the URL of the web version of the email, and check the results of the order of your email.

I also like the ever-reliable W3 Validator to check for unclosed tags and other syntax errors, which will round out a thorough testing sequence.

Zoom Test

You can't predict every instance of personal computer usage, and readability is literally in the eyes of the beholder. You can, however, simulate some things, like text size. Bump your browser window zoom to 200%, and you’ll get a great visual of how your email layout performs and how your copy appears in increased size environments that are not uncommon in many demographics.

Mobile Accessibility Testing

iOS devices have a built-in VoiceOver program that can be activated in the Settings. This feature allows the mobile phone to read aloud what’s displayed on the screen. Use it to again review your hierarchy and call to action links. Also, by pinching your screen to experience your email zoomed in, you can assess whether your content is still accessible.

By implementing these simple adjustments in your campaigns, you’re including a pool of users who have untapped potential to engage with your brand. As builders of user journeys, it’s our duty to ensure our message is reaching as many people as possible. The changes above are simple, straightforward and only enhance your campaigns.