Keep It Simple
Thinking about users, members, partners and clients as people rather than just numbers in a database shows that we care. By making our emails accessible to everyone, we’re speaking directly to their needs, and showing that we want to listen and help.
Over 26% of people living in the US have a disability, and this number only goes higher at the global level.
Not everyone is a native English speaker. People use screen readers and translation tools on a regular basis, and their use increases every year.
Keeping to standard sentence structure and avoiding confusing or contradictory phrases helps even more with neurodivergent people (between 30% and 40% of the population is thought to be neurodiverse).
Stick to writing at an eighth-grade reading level, which will allow for around 85% of the general population to easily understand your content. This also helps when someone uses translation tools.
Use the same terms to describe the same things. If we say “sign up”, we don’t change it to “subscribe” two paragraphs later.
If there’s a chance someone won’t know what a word or phrase means, take the time to define it or insert a link to a relevant resource.
Write short paragraphs and break up blocks of text with headers and bullet points. This makes content both easier to read and skim. And always keep in mind how accessibility tools work to help people with disabilities, and do your best to offer them a fair interaction.
- Pause for things like periods, semi-colons, and commas.
- Try to pronounce acronyms but otherwise will spell out the letters.
- Announce the page title when loading a page or email.
- Announce headings and the heading level (“heading level 2.”)
- Read subject lines up to 41 characters.
Translation and Localization
- Time zones – be mindful where the person you’re emailing is located (not the organization’s HQ). Most people check their emails in the morning, but rarely reply. Better reply rates come 10am to 12pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. However, with the rise of remote work, Saturdays seem to get a better response rate from outreach emails.
- Write in active voice. The active voice is the preferred method of content creation because it takes the guesswork out, and it makes translation easier and more accurate.
- Use standard sentence structure – subject/verb/object.
- Avoid acronyms when possible and spell out full words.
- Avoid cultural specific references and use inclusive language.