What makes an email signature accessible?

February 6, 2019

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Creating accessible email signatures is not difficult, but may seem daunting if you have not updated yours in a while. Some people have email signatures required by their departments and don’t have much control over the visual aspect. Iowa State adheres to the global standards outlined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and 2.1. The specific standards that apply to emails and email signatures are font choice, font size, color contrast and image use.

Things to keep in mind when planning your email signature update are as follows:

  1. Choose appropriate font and style.
    1. Arial and Verdana are good fonts to use for emails as they have been specifically optimized for the screen.
    2. Font size should be at least 12 points.
  2. Use good color contrast.
    1. People who have low vision (due to macular degeneration, glaucoma, injury or from birth) or color blindness have difficulty reading text on screen when there is not enough contrast between colors.
  3. Add “alt” text when using images in your signature.
    1. It’s popular to use images, but it is not always accessible to assistive technology or those users who choose the plain text format. See my short tutorial on how to add “alt” text to email signature images. If you add alt text, then using images will meet the WCAG 2.0/2.1 Level AA guidelines.  

If you would like me to visit your department please contact me. I can offer guidance, workshops or sit down with individuals to discuss the criteria. I look forward to our work together!


Cyndi Wiley

205 Durham

Email: clwiley@iastate.edu

Phone: 4-8765


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