Accessibility and inclusion: event emails and flyers

Web accessibility has always been a requirement for UMaine websites, and has been a regular feature in our monthly newsletter. Ensuring your content is accessible is part of an inclusive communication strategy.

This month, the focus is on event emails and using flyers online.

Using a flyer to promote your event

When promoting an event or webinar, usually a flyer or small poster is created for use on bulletin boards on campus. These should not be used as-is for emails, social media or web pages— the large images will have text information regarding the event time and date, location, and instructions on its cost or registration instructions. We have written a few times about the importance of text alternatives for images (or “alt text”), and generally advise that alt text be used for graphics displaying short bits of text such as a headline or button label. More information on alt text from our September 2018 newsletter.

Alt text is not a good solution for an image of an event flyer, because the content is too lengthy to use in this way. Instead, the text of the flyer should be re-created within the email you are sending and/or the web page you are creating. This will allow you to format the text in ways that is helpful to screen readers as well as search engines. It will also help those who are using a mobile device, where the small screen typically shrinks images to fit, making text in the image harder to read.

Our article from November 2018, “Accessibility and emails” offers good advice that particularly applies to event flyers.

Linking to event registration in an email or web page

If your event has online registration available, be sure to read our advice on accessibility with links (March 2019). For event registrations, it is better to use descriptive link text such as “Register for free online” than a long web address to the online registration website. Descriptive link text is important in emails that are being sent through systems such as Mailchimp— because the link destination is usually funneled through the system you are using to broadcast the message, email clients may see a mis-match between the link text when it looks like a web address and give a warning to the reader that the link may be misleading. Our recent follow-up article on this topic, Guidance for email newsletters (March 2021) advises on this