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  • Writer's pictureDavid Branscome

Crafting Accessible Email Messages in the Workplace

A man is typing on his laptop.

Communication is key in today's connected world, especially when it comes to email. You want your messages to be clear and easy to understand for everyone, no matter their abilities. That's why Microsoft Outlook has a handy tool called the Accessibility Checker that helps you create more inclusive and accessible emails. This tool is like a magic wand that makes your messages more friendly and welcoming to people with diverse needs.

What is Accessibility in Emails?

Accessibility in emails means making your content readable for both people with and without disabilities. It means that everyone can see, hear, and interact with your information, regardless of their abilities. This includes how your content works with screen readers, how easy your text is to read, how well your colors contrast, and how logical your structure is.

Accessibility Checker In Outlook – What, Why, and How

Outlook's Accessibility Checker is a great feature that helps you make your emails more accessible. Here's how you can find and use it:

Steps to Use the Accessibility Checker

  • Open Outlook: Start Microsoft Outlook and go to the email writing window.

  • Write Your Email: Write your message as you normally would, adding text, images, links, and formatting.

  • Check Accessibility: When you're done writing, go to the "Review" tab at the top of the window.

  • Accessibility Checker: In the "Review" tab, you'll see the "Check Accessibility" button. Click on it to start the Accessibility Checker.

  • See Suggestions: The Accessibility Checker will scan your email for any issues and give you a list of suggestions to improve accessibility.

  • Fix Issues: Look at the accessibility issues and follow the suggestions from the Accessibility Checker to fix them.

  • Check Again, if Needed: After making changes, run the Accessibility Checker again to make sure your email is as accessible as possible.

Tips for Making Your Emails More Accessible

  • Use Catchy Subject Lines: Just as any other email you have composed in the past, give your email a clear and catchy subject line that tells what your email is about.

  • Use Simple and Clear Language: Use simple and clear language and avoid using jargon or complicated sentences.

  • Add Alt Text for Images: Add alt text to describe your images so that people using screen readers can understand them.

  • Use Headings to Structure Your Content: Use headings (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) to arrange your content in a logical order.

  • Use Contrasting Colors: Use colors that contrast well for your text and background to make them easier to read for people with vision problems.

  • Don't Rely on Color Alone to Give Information: Use other ways (text, readable fonts, symbols) besides color to give important information.

  • Test for Accessibility: Use the Accessibility Checker often to check and fix any accessibility issues.

Accessibility and inclusivity are important parts of effective communication in the workplace. By using Outlook's Accessibility Checker and following these tips, you can make sure your emails are more accessible and understandable to people with different abilities. Making your emails more accessible not only shows respect and care for your audience, but also shows your dedication to creating a more fair and friendly work environment for everyone.

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