Emails are a big part of how organisations communicate and work. We must make sure they are accessible so that everyone can understand them.
Everyone has the right to see emails and understand what is being said.
The Listen Include Respect guidelines are still being completed - stay tuned for illustrations which will be added shortly to help explain these guidelines!
Always write in plain language.
Use a large font size and don't use abbreviations and jargon, even if you are not emailing a person with an intellectual disability.
Don’t use short-hand or acronyms.
Acronyms don’t make sense when read by a screen reader, and a lot of them have outdated or vague meanings.
For example, instead of using phrases like ‘Close of Business’, ‘For your eyes only’ or ‘Out of office’ (when working from home), try to say what you really mean and be precise: ‘by 5pm’, ‘please don’t show this to anyone else’ or ‘I am not working today’.
Summarise lengthy discussions.
When forwarding a chain of emails, include a summary of the conversation to help people understand the background and why you are including them.
Be aware that emails are often shown in reverse order and it is difficult to follow who is saying what.
They help to break up long emails and sign post important information.
Make the subject line clear and relevant.
Don’t use too much formatting.
A clear black sans serif font is best. Italics are hard to read for people with dyslexia and screen readers will not identify bold formatting.
If you want to highlight the main information, use a sub-heading that says ‘important’ or consider deleting unnecessary information.
Lists are a really useful way to break down a lot of information into small manageable chunks, especially for actions or tasks to complete.
Use link text.
Long hyperlinks can be confusing and overwhelming so use link text to explain where the web address goes to.
Involve support people or personal assistants.
Always include support people in CC of the address line.