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Does the image above seem to be slightly off? That’s because we used the Color Oracle app to show you how someone who is colorblind would view this photo. It is something that often gets overlooked in email marketing campaigns that are fighting to grab your attention but it could keep you from reaching about 8% of your target audience. What if you opened your email and all you saw was this:

Hello hyphen Elizabeth  hyphen exclamation point. Thank you for joining Restoration Media link to profile. We have some exciting opportunities for you exclamation point. Twitter page, facebook page, LinkedIn, Instagram. Image. Image. Drop down menu. System creating PC issues. Please wait.

What would that tell you about our website if you were a blind person using our site with a screen reader? Probably not that much. Here at Restoration Media, we have compiled a list of ways that we feel can help you achieve the most optimal way to reach that 8%.

Get mobile friendly

We have said it before and we will say it again: you need to make your campaign mobile friendly! Over 50% of emails are read over a phone so you’re missing out on half of your readers if you aren’t mobile friendly, anyway. Most of those who are visually impaired prefer to read on a mobile device or on the mobile option because the text is simpler and the options are easier to read, especially for those who use a screen-reader.

Use a color blindness simulator

The term “colorblind” sounds like the person can see only black and white but that actually isn’t the case. 99% of those who are colorblind can see some color. As we mentioned earlier in this post, we like to use Color Oracle to test our campaigns for color blindness. The app gives you four different ways to look at your email before it is sent out: Normal, Deuteranopia (green color blindness), Protanopia (red color blindness), and Tritanopia (blue color blindness). All you have to do is click on the word at the drop menu and your campaign can be viewed the way that a person with visual impairment views it.

Use an “alt text” for your images

As you saw in our sample email, a screen reader cannot tell what it is in your image but if you use an alternative text, it can read that and clearly let the reader know what is in your image. However, alternative text is difficult to use so if you don’t know how to make an alt text than you might just want to try explaining what is in the image instead. Try saying something like “this infographic clearly shows that our revenue has doubled in the last six months!”

Be a minimalist

Go on Pinterest, trust us, minimalism is cool and a minimalist campaign is so much easier for someone who is colorblind to use. Monochrome campaigns do not change much in different levels of color blindness and they look just as fierce when you aren’t colorblind. Keeping a sleek email without a million different colors will also help keep your CTA button more accessible. Drop all the heavy menuing at the top of your email, as well. It takes far too long for a screen-reader to get through all those emails and since most people have the attention span of a goldfish, a lengthy menu header could hurt the content of your campaign, anyway.  

Keep your text in one column

Screen readers will always read your text left to right and top to bottom. Many who create HTML emails use templates that are commonly coded using tables and though they are easy to move across channels, screen readers may not be reading them in the order they are intended. You could keep your email in two columns but, sometimes, separating text with images confuses the order for a screen reader. Another way around this would be to use HTML heading elements to create a hierarchy for screen readers.

Consider your Typography

Fancy wording is great but it doesn’t do much if people cannot read it. Keep your font fairly large and not overly complex. If you are going with a standard font, the American Foundation for the Blind recommends Roman, Sans Serif or even Ariel at around an 18 point font and remember bold is better! If you choose to use eye-catching typography, we don’t blame you, just make sure that you leave accurate spacing between the words so that those who are visually impaired can read it, try a 1.5 instead of a single space.

Have a Text Only Option

A text only option is such an easy way to ensure your emails are accessible to everyone without having to lose the key design that you worked so hard on. Try setting the text only to an easy read font and putting clickable links at the top of your email so that they are easy to see amongst all the content. This will also help improve your email in other ways like making sure your lines aren’t too long and that there is actually enough informative content in-between all those fancy designs and images.