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Emailed Images of Text

Why do people send image-only emails?

At its core, email is a text-based form of communication. However, it is common to receive an email that contains a text-heavy image, such as embedded image of an event flyer that presents a large amount of information. Sometimes the email contains very little to no actual text. How did this become a common practice? The two most likely reasons are because it can be done very quickly, or the sender wants to achieve a specific visual appearance.

How do emailed images of text create barriers?

  • Individuals who rely on screen readers, a type of assistive technology, will be unable to access the information in the image.
  • Individuals cannot adjust the size and appearance of the text to meet their needs.
  • Individuals cannot translate the image of text into another language.
  • The email may appear blank for individuals using voice/virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa.
  • The image of text is not searchable or selectable.

For these reasons, it is important to discontinue the practice of emailing images of text.

What if alternative text is included?

Alternative text is crucial to include when sharing photos, charts, and other graphics. However, there are several reasons why emailing images of text should be avoided that are not solely related to accessibility but still prevent recipients from effectively accessing the information being communicated.

  • Some email clients may block the image from loading.
  • An individual’s internet connection may prevent the image from loading.
  • The image may appear blurry when viewed on a mobile device.

Main takeaways

  • Always use text instead of images of text.
  • Emailing images of text is not in compliance with web accessibility standards because people cannot adjust or alter how text looks in an image.
  • Choosing to email an image of text may cause recipients to lose essential information that is being communicated within the image.

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