With the creation of HTML newsletters, it is imperative to incorporate text, many of the following factors may interrupt the viewer’s ability to view the visual aspects of images and graphics and therefore the text is imperative:
- Code compliance differences with various email programs
- Viewers differing computer settings
- Viewers who can’t or choose not to view the images of your newsletter
Because of these factors, it is imperative that text of your newsletter be accessible to the viewer whether the images are visible or not. Below are a few do’s and don’ts when creating your html newsletters:
- Make your entire newsletter graphic based
- Leave your pictures without description
- Forget to create a text version of your html newsletter
- Make you newsletter text based and have minimal graphic or picture based text
- Add detailed alt description tags to your images and graphics
- Test your newsletter to make sure text will show correctly in various email programs without the images/graphics appearing
- Create a text version of your commercial html newsletter
Not only is it important to have text based newsletters for viewing purposes, but also for various disabilities and functional limitations, such as the visibly impaired, physical, language, and cognitive disabilities. Some users may not be able to use a mouse, while others may be listening to your newsletter using a screen reader that sends information to a text-to-speech synthesizer or refreshable Braille display. The blind depend on text versions. For text emails, it is important to have alt tags used to describe images. Having image descriptions helps the visibly impaired ‘see’ pictures through screen readers. Give your viewers every opportunity to access your newsletter.
Code Compliance Reasons
There are many different email programs that your newsletter will be sent through – Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, AOL, etc. It is important to realize each program has code requirements and therefore you want to create an html commercial newsletter compliant in various versions and programs. Testing and sending your newsletter to different programs will help you see what improvements to make.
- HTML Inline styles & table tags versus CSS Style sheets & div tags
The main code compliance that will help improve newsletters to work well in various programs is to use HTML tables and inline styles versus CSS style sheets and div tags. Keeping all styles inline, as well as, replace all CSS div tags with table tags. This will make a significant difference with email program compliance. For example, the newest version Outlook 2007 no longer recognizes CSS and therefore any style rules or div tags will not be recognized and the newsletter will be distorted aesthetically with the CSS code not being recognized.
Text Version Send-Outs
A text version newsletter does not have html code; it basically is taking all the text from your html version and placing it as a separate newsletter to send out. Newsletter programs will send the text version at the same time the html version is sent out. Any subscriber with a text base email will receive the text version.
Branding Logo Graphics
Many fonts are not accessible through basic inline-style font-families. For this reason often-times main headers or company names/logos are graphics. This is when alt tags are crucial with describing the newsletter images and graphics. Any text that you make an image, it is important to have alt tags describing the text-image, especially your logo and company name. Your logo is crucial for company branding, if the image is not showing, alt tags become a crucial aspect to branding your product, name, and logo.
Text is the basis of newsletters and communicating your message whether the commercial aspect can be viewed or not. Keep text the center focus as you create your newsletter. Always make your information accessible no matter what computer settings or email program a client uses. Clients are less likely to fully open an email if they can’t see what it’s about or the company it is coming from. Text will broaden results and the actions you would like your cliental to take! This is just one more step to success with email newsletters!