Nov 02 2012

New “Ask the Experts” page

Category: About this blogBuyAccessible Team @ 10:35 am

Do you ever have questions about Section 508 implementation? We just added a new page to this blog called, “Ask the Experts.”

You are welcome to submit a question to the BuyAccessible Team by leaving a reply on the “Ask the Experts” page. You can reach it through a tab at the top of the blog and a link in the Right column.

Please indicate if you would like your question to be private. Otherwise, your question and answer may be published in the blog.

Please note that all comments are moderated per Federal Government/GSA Blog Use Policy, so it may take a few days to get back to you.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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2 Responses to “New “Ask the Experts” page”

  1. emailcoder says:

    I create emails and would like a document on how to create emails for 508 compliance. Considering email is so different from web, the coding is different and doesn’t necessarily apply.
    What are the necessary things for email?

    Do you have to use em?
    Someone mentioned you can’t use inline, but in email you have to, any ideas on this?
    Use of tables are necessary and sometimes tables within tables.

    Overall, do you recommend for 508 compliant to create 1 column simple emails or are there specific rules around coding for email. Thank you.

    • Bruce Bailey says:

      Greetings Amber.

      Thanks for asking such an interesting question. People tend not to pay close attention to the accessibility of email text, but given your profession, I am delighted you are raising this!

      Most email nowadays is HTML based, so I disagree that email is so different from web.

      The main difficultly people report regarding email accessibility is with text that is too small and does not easily enlarge. Unfortunately, I am not entirely certain what causes this. On the Web, specifying fonts in PX is the most problematic while EM works the best. I am not sure if PT is more like one than the other.

      Tables in email also causes layout problems. To avoid accessibility issues, these must be laid out using percentages (or without size constraints). The only element which can be specified in PX with causing accessibility problems is images. Instead of tables, it would be better to use DIV and CSS (with floats), but my understanding is that email clients do not reliably handle such formatting. Tables that reflow are a reasonable work around. Nested tables should be avoided when possible, but sometimes that is not realistic. Data table structures are not well supported in email.

      Finally, make sure your email has alternative text for images.

      Hope this helps, and I would be happy to dialog more about this.

      Bruce Bailey
      Accessibility IT Specialist
      U.S. Access Board

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