General Accessible Email Formatting Guidelines
These standards apply to all email applications. Not all email clients will have all these options available; just use the options that are available to you.
Note: Most people read their email on a mobile phone. These accessibility guidelines not only help people with disabilities understand your email, but also help sighted users view your email on a small screen.
- Emails that are in HTML or Rich Text formatting are the most accessible.
- Plain text emails are less accessible.
- 14 px or 12 pt is considered the most accessible body text size.
- Headings should be slightly larger than your body text.
- Black text is the most accessible.
- If you use other colors, they must pass WCAG color Contrast standards, see Web Accessibility Techniques: Tools to Meet Color Contrast Standards for color contrast checkers and contrast ratings for all AU official colors.
- Divide your email into small readable content chunks to make your email easier to understand. Start each content chunk with a heading that summarizes the topic.
- Format your headings with Heading Styles 1 through 6.
- Don’t include URL’s in the body text. Instead, use text links.
- If you need to include a full URL as a citation or research documentation, create a section in your email, sort of like a footnote, and give it a heading (e.g. Citation URL’s). Place all the citations in a bulleted list. Include the page title along with the URL.
- Limit your use of Bold, italics, all-caps, etc. Too much will make your text difficult to read.
- Don’t use full or right justification, these don’t always align properly in some email clients and may hide your content off screen on mobile devices.
- Don’t use tables to layout an email, only use tables for tabular data.
- Don’t use images instead of text.
- Give each image alt text.