Best practicesTemplates

Designing for older subscribers

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 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. Especially for people who read your email on their phone. You can also make your older, or visually challenged, 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 11 pixel fonts are ‘normally’ used, you could go for a couple more pixels, around 13, to make your readership feel more comfortable. Especially if you know your subscribers are a bit older. 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!

Physical disabilities

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. 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? Have them read both on a computer, a tablet and a phone. You might discover some interesting cues about your design.

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

Author Isabel Lapointe

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