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Are You Designing Emails for Seniors – Part 2: Visual and Physical Disabilities

By March 11, 2009 No Comments

Previous post: Are You Designing Emails for Seniors – Part 1 A Few Numbers

You design your emails to be nice, sleek, and readable in all browsers. And you avoid oversized images, or any other feature that could risk your email being mistaken for spam. But are you also thinking about who your subscribers are and what might cause them trouble when reading your content?

Visual and physical disabilities
Around the age of 40, which we all agree is quite young, farsightedness begins to make it difficult for many people to read small print. Glasses help, but you can also make your older audience’s lives easier by using larger and simpler fonts, without serifs, and by always maintaining a clear contrast between the text and the background.

If 10 to 11pixel fonts are ‘normally’ used, you could go for a couple more pixels, around 13, to make your readership feel more comfortable. Also, forget a crowded background when displaying text, and instead work on creating high contrast to ensure it can be read with ease. A good test worth taking the time to do is to simply check your email on different screens. Certainly your graphic artist has a perfectly calibrated flat screen but chances are your subscribers don’t!

Using a mouse could also be challenging for some of your audience, due to physical ailments like arthritis, or just because they have not mastered all the manipulations yet. My two-year-old daughter is a great example of this 😉 And forget any micro-icons if you want to be sure your readers see them and are able to click on them easily. Animated content can be also complicated if a user needs to click at a precise moment to access specific content.

Why not make a few versions of your email and have it tested by your representative age group to see how they react?

A Great Resource to learn more: Web Accessibility for Older Users A Literature Review

Next time: Are You Designing Emails for Seniors – Part 3: Educational and Cultural ‘Limitations’

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Author Isabel Lapointe

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