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Re: Accessibility for email newsletters sent in HTML format


From: smithj7
Date: Oct 13, 2006 1:50PM

At work, we had the same issue of making an accessible email newsletter as
our default for email is text only (work for Florida Blind Services and
speech users don't usually set their email system to html.) We found some
great suggestions at http://www.headstar.com/ten/

But our sighted employees wanted more color and graphics, so we ended up
just puting the newsletter up in html on our website and sent subscribers
links to the page.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Christian Heilmann" < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
To: "WebAIM Discussion List" < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 2:49 PM
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Accessibility for email newsletters sent in HTML

>> Hi
>> I am investigating accessibility issues regarding distribution of email
>> newsletters in HTML format.
>> I imagine that best practice accessibility principles apply here too and
>> that emails sent in HTML format present all the same issues as HTML web
>> pages.
>> However, are there any other challenges specific to emails?
>> Any bits of advice, or if anyone has faced issues in the past - it would
>> be great if you could share.
>> Many thanks
>> Maggie
> It is more about availability. Email clients are even pickier than
> browsers during the browser wars when it comes to displaying HTML
> correctly, and not all allow for multipart mime type. Embedding all
> the imagery and HTML can create huge emails, too, which is not a nice
> thing to get (the encoding type of emails adds a lot of extra KB to
> any image you use).
> The other option of embedding pictures and styles from a server is not
> safe either, as a lot of users and mail admins prevent loading of
> third party content as that could be used to verify the validity of a
> mail for spamming (I add an image in a mail, which really is a script
> that tracks if it is called from a server - that way I'll know my
> email arrived and was opened and hooray I can tell you about all kind
> of medication and how to increase your appendages).
> General consensus as to how to create safe HTML email (in terms of
> display) is to embed all styles and use presentational markup, which
> means that the mail throws up all the accessibility issues badly
> developed web sites have and may not be rendered correctly to boot.
> Email is used as a communication device by a lot of blind users, as it
> by default is text and should be easy to listen to. If you create
> tagsoup, that is something the assistive technology will have to
> digest and make available. Screen readers are good, but is it really
> needed?
> Personally I don't ever allow HTML email, and companies that offer
> only HTML emails as their primary format don't get my custom.
> --
> Chris Heilmann
> Book: http://www.beginningjavascript.com
> Blog: http://www.wait-till-i.com
> Writing: http://icant.co.uk/