Email Accessibility Guidelines and Best Practices for Businesses

Email accessibility guidelines encompass a set of standards and best practices that guarantee email content is accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities. As businesses increasingly depend on email as a primary mode of communication, it is vital to ensure that everyone can access and comprehend the information shared. In this article, we will delve into the email accessibility standards, impairments to consider, and best practices to adopt for businesses.

Email Accessibility Standards

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide a set of guidelines for making web content, including email, accessible to individuals with disabilities. The latest version of WCAG, WCAG 2.1, was released in 2018 and includes a series of success criteria that must be met for content to be considered accessible. The success criteria are categorized into three levels of conformance: A, AA, and AAA, with level AAA being the most stringent.

It is recommended to adhere to at least the AA level of conformance to ensure email accessibility.

Some of the key success criteria for email accessibility include:

  1. Providing Text Alternatives for Non-Text Content: Any images, videos, or audio files used in an email should have text alternatives that accurately describe the content of the file for individuals who are unable to see or hear it.
  2. Using Accessible Colors: Ensure that the contrast between text and background colors is sufficient for individuals with low vision to read the text effortlessly. Furthermore, avoid relying solely on colors to convey information.
  3. Ensuring Keyboard Accessibility: Individuals with motor impairments may depend on keyboard navigation to access email content. Therefore, all email content should be accessible through keyboard navigation alone.
  4. Providing Clear and Concise Content: Use simple language in emails that is easy to comprehend. Keep sentences and paragraphs brief, and use headings to organize content in a logical manner.

Types of Impairments to Address

Email accessibility guidelines aim to make email content accessible to people with a range of disabilities. Here are some of the most common types of impairments that email accessibility guidelines address:

  1. Visual Impairments: Individuals with visual impairments may encounter challenges in reading the text or viewing images in an email. They may utilize screen readers or braille displays to access the email content.
  2. Hearing Impairments: Individuals with hearing impairments may face difficulties in hearing audio content within an email. They may require transcripts or captions to comprehend the information.
  3. Motor Impairments: Individuals with motor impairments may encounter difficulties in navigating through an email using a mouse or touch screen. They may rely on keyboard navigation or assistive technology to access the email content.
  4. Cognitive Impairments: Individuals with cognitive impairments may experience difficulties in understanding complex language or instructions in an email. Therefore, it is essential to use simple language and organize emails in a clear and concise manner.

Best Practices to Follow for Businesses

Ensuring email accessibility is not only a legal requirement, but it also makes good business sense. By making email content accessible to everyone, businesses can reach a wider audience and improve the user experience for all customers. Here are some best practices that businesses can follow to ensure email accessibility:

  1. Utilize an Accessible Email Template: Many email marketing platforms offer accessible email templates that meet WCAG guidelines. By utilizing such templates, you ensure that your email content is designed with accessibility in mind.
  2. Provide Clear and Concise Content: Compose emails using simple language and organize them in a clear and concise manner. Use headings to break up content and lists to present information in an easily understandable format.
  3. Use Alt Text for Images: All images used in emails should have alternative text descriptions that accurately convey the content of the image. This ensures that individuals who cannot view images can still comprehend the intended message.
  4. Ensure Accessible Color Schemes: Use text and background colors that provide sufficient contrast for people with low vision to read easily. Also, avoid relying solely on colors to convey information since some individuals may have difficulty distinguishing between certain colors.
  5. Test Emails with Assistive Technology: Before sending emails, it is crucial to test them with assistive technology, such as screen readers or braille displays. This helps to identify any accessibility issues and allows for necessary corrections to be made.
  6. Provide Accessible Alternatives: For any content that cannot be made accessible, such as videos or interactive content, provide alternative formats that are accessible. Examples of such formats include transcripts or captions for videos and alternative text-based content for interactive elements.
  7. Include an Unsubscribe Option: It is essential to provide an option for users to unsubscribe from marketing emails. This empowers users to have control over their inbox and opt-out of future emails if they so choose.
  8. Train Staff on Email Accessibility: All staff involved in creating and sending emails should be trained on email accessibility guidelines and best practices. This ensures that everyone understands the significance of accessibility and how to create accessible email content.


Email accessibility guidelines are a crucial set of standards and best practices that ensure email content can be accessed by all individuals, irrespective of their disabilities. By adhering to these guidelines, businesses can expand their reach, enhance the user experience for all customers, and fulfill legal requirements. By following best practices such as using accessible templates, composing clear and concise content, and testing emails with assistive technology, businesses can guarantee that their emails are accessible to everyone.

Combining User Messaging with Marketing Automation.

In the realm of email marketing, there are various strategies to entice new customers. One powerful approach is leveraging automation, utilizing specialized software to send out emails based on predetermined triggers.

Automating your email and push notification campaigns can significantly enhance efficiency by freeing up valuable time for other essential business tasks. Moreover, it provides valuable data on customer segments, helping you identify the most effective strategies for each group.

For those seeking an easy-to-use tool for user messaging and marketing, or those looking to test the waters without committing resources upfront, we highly recommend Cloudmattr – our all-in-one customer engagement platform.