Q&A with Kait Creamer

Q&A with Kait Creamer

Q&A with Kait Creamer

Bex Osborn

Marketing Strategist

22 Apr 2021

In this blog post we talk to Kait Creamer, CRM Marketer at Framer. We learn about her take on accessibility, why she thinks it’s important for email Marketers, and also how Framer incorporates accessible best practices for its users.

"Accessibility matters everywhere. To everyone."

Hey Kait! Firstly let us know, what does email accessibility mean to you?

Accessibility is inclusivity. It makes it easier for everyone to engage with a message, which is honestly just smart, decent business. Why would anyone narrow their audience on purpose?

Good accessibility isn’t just for disabled folks on the receiving end of emails, either. Though the disabled community is largely responsible for much of the assistive tech we encounter every day—think curb cuts, heatmap tracking, voice-to-text—everyone benefits from usable design.

When I moved from the US to the Netherlands, I experienced it firsthand with Dutch emails I couldn’t translate immediately to English. All-image emails go straight to trash unless they’re extremely important, in which case I’ll type them manually into Google Translate, word-by-word sometime next week. Emails with the proper lang attribute set are a dream because I can actually (my goodness) read them.

Imagine how many people benefit from that one little thing. Now think about everyone using a screen reader, or the people looking at their phones in a parking garage with low bandwidth, or those whose organizations have blocked images. Accessibility matters everywhere. To everyone.

Why do you think Marketers should be adopting accessibility features within their emails?

Email drives revenue at the rate of $40 for every $1 spent. A good subscriber list can make a lot of money. But poor accessibility is no different from poor deliverability: it doesn’t matter how much you want to deliver a message if there’s no way for someone to receive it. Inaccessible emails are, in my eyes, a great way to blow a budget.

Everyone wants a bigger subscriber list, but too often people fail to consider the email addresses they already have for folks who would love to engage with their brand but can’t. There’s an argument that accessibility takes more time. If inaccessibility has been the standard at a company, then yes, it can take time to change a workflow. (As a rule, growth usually comes as a result of intelligent change. Not from a status quo.)

Accessibility isn’t black magic, though, and resources for accessible emails are abundant. And you can tackle pushback on building something truly accessible by pointing back to the fact that keeping a current subscriber is cheaper than getting a new one. It’s good business.

How does Framer approach accessibility and incorporate accessible best practices for users?

I worked together with one of our product designers, Krijn Rijshouwer, to build our own in-house React email system last summer—it makes creating accessible, well-designed emails relatively automatic and seamless. We don’t have to spend extra time with every email to “now make it accessible” because we built the system for a broad audience from the start.

In this React email build system, we set lang and alt attributes by default. Aria roles are included in the HTML output of the React components, and we use live text absolutely everywhere. We stick to WCAG guidelines for contrast, and we stay away from rapidly-flashing images or colors. There are so many guardrails on that React system that it would be heaps of work to try to build something inaccessible at this point, which means it’s no extra effort to build something that works for a broad audience.

Of course, we can always learn more, so as we find new ways to make things work better for subscribers, we make iterative improvements. When the foundation of a workflow supports accessibility, small changes don’t take much time at all.

What simple things do you think Marketers can adopt quickly to ensure their emails are more accessible?

Aria roles, alt and lang attributes, character encoding, are quick wins that nearly anyone could implement in their HTML yesterday. Semantic code can be quick to set up in many cases for teams not using it already. Choosing live text over all-image emails might take a bit longer, but that workflow change offers massive potential ROI once you commit.

Emails render differently on different clients, and email development doesn’t have all the flexibility of web development. But dying on the sword of branding isn’t a smart investment—an accessible email for everyone offers higher return than an inaccessible email with even the most perfect font.

Finally, what piece of advice would you give to marketers who are thinking about making their emails more accessible?

Read up! Listen to people who use assistive tech. They’re experts at this. Experience emails the way your audience experiences them: through screen readers, translated, with images off, etc. The disabled community paves the way for many of us to experience all tech more comfortably. There are heaps of references out there for accessibility in email. If you need help, just ask. And keep pushing for it!

These are the resources I’ve found most helpful:

At ActionRocket we can help you to understand more about accessibility and how it affects your email audience. Our aim is to get every brand to be creating emails with accessibility in mind. If you think your emails could be more accessible we’d love to help, get in touch with us at hello@actionrocket.co.




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