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Accessible E-mail: Messages That Everyone Can Read Produced by Jamie Smith Narrated by Keith Flowers On behalf of Division of Blind Services Florida Department of Education What’s E-mail? Electronic mail is a method of writing, sending, receiving and saving messages

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Accessible E-mail: Messages That Everyone Can Read


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accessible e mail messages that everyone can read

Accessible E-mail:Messages That Everyone Can Read

Produced by Jamie Smith

Narrated by Keith Flowers

On behalf of Division of Blind Services

Florida Department of Education

what s e mail
What’s E-mail?
  • Electronic mail is a method of
    • writing,
    • sending,
    • receiving and
    • saving messages
  • over electronic communication systems.
purpose of e mail
Purpose of E-mail
  • E-mail is a fast and convenient way to deliver information to someone or a group of people about something in an easy and inexpensive way.
  • Added benefits include:
    • Having a record of what is sent out and received and;
    • Thinking about the content and layout before you send it
devices used to read e mail
Devices Used to Read E-Mail
  • People use a variety of programs to read e-mail. These can include:
    • Outlook,
    • Eudora,
    • Webmail programs,
    • PDAs like the Blackberry devices,
    • Cell phones, and
    • Assistive Technology like the BrailleNote
things to avoid
Things to Avoid
  • Backgrounds commonly known as stationary
  • Special characters like the © (Copyright symbol) or a  (smiley face)
  • Graphics or clip art, unless you know how to add alt tags
  • ALL CAPS
  • Fancy fonts such as cursive or graphic signature blocks. Stick with san-serif fonts such as Ariel or Verdana.
e mail sections
E-mail Sections
  • Internet e-mail messages consist of two major sections:
    • Header — Structured into fields such as the subject, sender, receiver(s), and other information about the e-mail
    • Body — The message itself as unstructured text; sometimes containing a signature block at the end or other corporate requirements
header
Header
  • One of the most important elements in the Header is the Subject field
  • This is the first field your reader sees – or in many cases does not see – because it is empty
composing a subject line
Composing a Subject Line
  • Write brief concise subjects for your e-mail
  • When reusing old e-mails (forwarding or responding) – Rename your subject based on the new content
  • If you are part of a team using e-mail, consider using a brief acronym in front of the subject. This acronym can be used for sorting the e-mail messages.
the body
The Body
  • The body of your e-mail conveys your message.
  • The body along with the subject are the most important parts of your message.
  • Use plain language.
  • Consider both content and layout.
  • Take time to develop the subject and message.
plain language content
Plain Language Content
  • Plain Language content must provide:
    • Clear language that is commonly used by the intended audience;
    • Only the information needed by the recipient, presented in a logical sequence; and
    • Short sentences written in the active voice that make it clear who is responsible for what.
plain language format
Plain Language Format
  • Think in terms of scanning!
  • Break up longer e-mails into sections using headers
  • Use lists whenever possible
  • Add white space and line breaks to make reading easier
  • Use san-serif fonts, like Ariel or Verdana as serif fonts like Lucinda Handwritingor even Times New Roman might be difficult to read
signature blocks
Signature Blocks
  • Signature blocks should provide your customers with any required contact information
  • Customize your signature blocks for your intended audience
    • External customers need to know how to reach you by phone or mail
    • Internal customers may only need a phone number
when replying
When Replying
  • When replying to e-mail:
    • Refer to what you are replying to in the message, don’t make people scroll down to read
    • Use the same Plain Language format and content principles noted previously
  • Note: If reusing a previous e-mail to resend a new message because you want the same people to get the e-mail
    • Add a new subject
when forwarding
When Forwarding
  • Remove all the header information
  • Inform user why you are forwarding information
  • Ensure that the subject makes sense
  • Rename the e-mail subject if it is not clear and concise
types of attachments
Types of Attachments
  • File formats often attached to e-mail:
    • Word
    • Excel
    • PowerPoint
    • HTML
    • PDF
    • Various Image formats (GIF, JPG, PNG)
    • Zip files
    • Formats – unknown or lacked a reader to access
  • Some are accessible, some are not.
content of the attachment
Content of the Attachment
  • Inform reader of content of attachment
  • If you don’t know if person has a specific program to read the attachment – send the attachment using Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • Ensure that the attachment is accessible or the body of your e-mail contains all the information noted in the attachment
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Always ensure that you have:
    • A concise clear subject
    • Use plain language in your body
    • When forwarding or replying remove unnecessary information, rename subject as needed
    • Ensure that you provide a summary for attachments
    • Ensure that attachments are readable by all