170 likes | 511 Views
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
E N D
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 • over electronic communication systems.
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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 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 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 • 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 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 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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