Accessibility Checker Transformer

Naomi West avatar
Naomi West@emailfromnaomi
Mark Robbins avatar
Mark Robbins@M_J_Robbins

In response to the latest Email Accessibility Report from the Email Markup Consortium, you can now automate improvements for common accessibility issues with a Parcel Transformer.

If used, these auto-improvements would solve 80% of the issues highlighted, resulting in a positive increase in the number of emails sent with mild or no issues.

In the recently released report, 99.9% of emails analyzed presented serious or critical accessibility issues. By applying auto-improvements to target some of the top accessibility issues highlighted, we'd see a steep drop in these.

We hoped to see movement down from the 99.9% failure rate for accessibility in the first report from July 2022. Despite a much larger sample size with the second report, the same metrics returned. These accessibility failures can often be due to things outside the creator's control. Drag and drop builders don’t apply these fixes or expose the code for these errors to be addressed efficiently, and ESPs often change and alter code at the time of sending. But for those that do build their emails from scratch or import their emails from external tools, you’ll now be able to apply auto-improvements to solve for some of the tip issues flagged.

Here’s an outline of the auto-fixes that are now available to be applied:

  • Add lang attribute to <html/> tag
  • Add dir attribute to <html/> tag
  • Add lang attribute to all top-level elements in the <body/> tag
  • Add dir attribute to all top-level elements in the <body/> tag
  • Add role=presentation attribute to all <table/> tags

If you are using a <table> elements for displaying data tables, then either turn this feature off or add role="table" to the data tables to prevent them from becoming presentational.

  • Add alt attribute to all VML images.
  • The alt text is auto-extracted from the VML content.

Add alt attribute to all images without an alt attribute.

  • Adds the subject into the <title/> tag to <head/> tag
  • Remove role=button attribute from links
  • Remove the meta tag that disables zooming on mobile devices
Enabling the accessibility auto fixes transformer

Looking back at the accessibility report, if these emails had some of these auto-improvements present, we’d see the number of perfect emails jump from 0.01% to 1.15%. Small, but a significant improvement at the same time!

You can now enable these as transformers from inside your Parcel dashboard. These auto-improvements are not meant to be complete fixes for accessibility issues, and we encourage developers and email creators to look at and understand what is causing them. In addition, these auto-fixes on account for code-related accessibility issues. Design-related accessibility issues, such as left-aligned text and color contrast still should be reviewed before send.