MS Outlook 2016 Checklist
A. The email message text format is set to HTML
Note: These tests and authoring guidance only apply to messages set to "HTML" and "Rich Text" format. Messages formatted as Plain Text do not require testing.
Instruction: Create new message (Ctrl+N); select "Format Text" tab, in the "Format" group select "HTML."
Figure 1: Message Format set to HTML
1. Does the email message have a descriptive subject?
How to Test:
Instruction: Check that the subject is descriptive and identifies the content or purpose of the message. An example of a descriptive subject is "Screen captures for Word Guidance Training Video." An example of a non-descriptive subject is "Pictures."
A descriptive message subject helps everyone identify the purpose of the email.
- Start a new message.
- Use the "Subject" field to identify the purpose or content of the message.
Figure 2: Message with a descriptive Subject field
2. Do headings in the email use the MS Outlook heading styles?
How to Test:
Instruction: Select text that visually appears as a heading (for example large, bold text) and open the "Reveal Formatting pane (Shift + F1)." Check under Paragraph options, Paragraph Style for Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3.
Test: Does the paragraph style in the "Reveal Formatting pane (Shift + F1)" display heading levels? If not, the message fails this test.
Figure 3: Reveal Formatting Pane showing Paragraph Style Heading 1
Headings organize content and make finding information easier. Assistive technology cannot infer meaning if you just format the text (such as increased font size, bold, or underlined text). Heading styles create a structure that assistive technology can quickly access and aid message navigation based on the heading levels.
Select "Format Text tab>Styles group" (or "Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S") to open the "Styles pane," and apply heading styles to the headings in your message.
Figure 4: Heading 1 Style applied to selected text
- Select the heading style you want and then type your heading, or
- Type your heading, place your cursor anywhere within the heading, and then select the heading style you want to use.
- If you have different heading levels (H1, H2, H3, etc.), then you must use a different style for each heading type, and they must follow a logical hierarchy. You can modify styles to create the look and feel you want in your message.
3. Are lists formatted correctly?
How to Test:
Instruction: Place your cursor on a list item. Open the "Reveal Formatting pane (Shift+F1)."
Figure 5: List option displayed under Bullets and Numbering
Test: Is the "List" option visible under "Bullets and Numbering"? If not, the message fails this test.
Lists help organize and structure content. Assistive technology users cannot infer meaning if you just format with tabs, a dash, or a number. Using built-in list features applies the formatting that assistive technology users need to both identify and follow content arranged in lists.
Select "Format Text tab>Paragraph group" and use the "Bullets," "Numbering," or "Multilevel List" features when formatting lists in your message.
To use the built-in list features, you can:
- Select the list feature you want and then type your list item, or
- Type your list item and then select the list feature you want to use.
Figure 6: Paragraph group displaying options for bulleted lists selected
4. Are layout tables formatted correctly?
How to Test:
Layout tables help arrange content in your message. Place your cursor on the first cell of the layout table. Use the "Tab" key to navigate through the table.
Test A: Does the tab order match the visual layout? If not, the message fails this test.
Instruction 2: "Right click" or "Shift+F10" inside a layout table and select "Table Properties>Text Wrapping."
Test B: Is "None" selected? If not, the message fails this test.
Figure 7: Table Properties Table tab displaying Text wrapping set to "None"
Layout Tables create a structure that assistive technology can use to read information in the correct order (left to right then top to bottom). If the table is formatted to allow text to wrap around it, assistive technology users will have difficulty finding the table in your message.
To create a table:
- Select "Insert tab>Table"
- Select the desired number of columns and rows.
- Text wrapping is automatically set to "None."
Figure 8: Insert Table menu with a 4x3 table option selected
5. Is text formatted for the intended language
How to Test:
Note: Check to see if the message only uses one language, if so you do not have to perform this test.
Instruction: : If the message contains words or phrases in a language other than the predominant language, place your cursor on that text. Open the "Reveal Formatting pane (Shift + F1)" and check the settings for "Language."
Figure 9: Language option in "Reveal formatting pane" displays Russian for selected language
Test: Is the text formatted in the correct language? If not, the message fails this test.
A message can contain sections written in different languages. Assistive technology cannot infer the correct pronunciation from just text, so text must be formatted in the correct language.
Select "Review tab>Language>Set Proofing Language."
To set a different language, you:
- Select text written in a different language.
- Select "Review tab>Language. Set Proofing Language."
- Select the appropriate language from the list.
Figure 10: Language selection for Russian
6. Are link names descriptive?
How to Test:
Test: Do links have meaningful names that describe their destination, function, and/or purpose; or are these determinable within context? If not, the message fails this test.
Uniquely Named Link:
Link Determinable within context:
An unclear link name with no context:
Assistive technology users rely on meaningful names to determine the destination, function, or purpose of links. For example, multiple "click here" links confuse assistive technology users because the name for each link if the same, while the destinations may be different.
Naming and creating links:
- To edit the name of a link, place your cursor on the link and edit the text.
Note: deleting the last character in the link name will remove the link.
- To create a hyperlink, select or type the hyperlink text and either right click and select "Hyperlink" or use "Ctrl+K" to open the "Insert Hyperlink" configuration window. Specify/verify the "Text to display" and the "Address" for the link and its destination, and select "OK."
Figure 11: Insert Hyperlink configuration window
7. Did you use built-in features to create data tables?
How to Test:
Instruction 1: Select a table and see if the "Picture Tools" tab shows up in the Ribbon instead of the "Table Tools" tab. If the "Picture Tools" tab shows in the Ribbon, then the table is a picture.
Test A: Is the message free of pictures of tables? If not, the message fails this test.
Instruction 2: Place your cursor on a table, select "Table Tools>Layout tab>Table group>View Gridlines" button, and inspect for table cells that are merged or split.
Test B: Are tables free of merged or split cells? If not, the message fails this test.
Figure 12: Complex table with merged and split cells
Instruction 3: Place your cursor on any cell of a "Header Row." "Open the Reveal Formatting pane (Shift+F1)" and look under the table." If the header row is not set, Repeat as header row will not show up in the "Reveal Formatting" pane under "Table>Row."
Test C: Is "Repeat as header row" identified? If not, the message fails this test.
Figure 13: Table Row Properties set to "Repeat as header row"
Instruction 4: Place your cursor on a table, right click or "Shift +F10," and select Table Properties>Table Tab>Text Wrapping."
Test D: Is "Text Wrapping" set to None? If not, the message fails this test.
Figure 14: Table Properties window with Text wrapping set to "None"
Assistive technology users need to identify column headers in data tables so the user can understand the association between table cells and their respective headers.
Select "Insert tab>Table."
To create an accessible data table you:
- Select the number of columns and rows you desired.
- Do not merge or split cells.
- Place the cursor on the first row, "right click" or "Shift+F10," and select "Table Properties>Row tab>Repeat as header row" button.
Note: If you need to create complex data tables (data tables with more than one header row, one or more header column, and/or merged or split cells), then you must provide alternative solution such as an accessible PDF attached to the message. Complex data tables cannot be made accessible in MS Outlook.
8. Do images and other objects have alternative text?
How to Test:
Instruction 1: Select meaningful images or objects in the message body "right click (or Shift+F10)>Format Picture (Note: could say Format Object, Format Shape, etc.)>Layout & Properties icon>Alt Text," and check the "Description" field for content. Also, check for a caption or a description of the image or object in surrounding text.
Test A: Does the image/object/shape have descriptive text as alt text, a caption, or is it described in the surrounding text? If not, the message fails this test.
Figure 15: Format Picture – Alt Text Options
Instruction 2: Select an image or object that is just for decoration, "right click (or Shift+F10)>Format Picture (Note: could say Format Object, Format Shape, etc.)>Layout & Properties icon>Alt Text," and read the "Description" field.
Test B: Does the "Description" fields of decorative image or objects contain blank spaces between quotes? If not, the message fails this test.
Assistive technology cannot infer meaning from images and other objects. Images and other objects include pictures, images of text, images of tables, shapes, icons with hyperlinks, etc.
To enter "Alt Text," select the image, object, or shape. "Right click" or "Shift+F10" and select "Format Picture (Note: could say Format Object, Format Shape, etc.)>Alt Text." In the "Description" field, enter information that states the purpose (in as few words as possible while remaining clear) for a meaningful image or object or enter a space or two spaces between quotes for decorative objects. Then select "close."
9. Are images, objects, and text boxes placed in line with the text?
How to Test:
Instruction: Select the image, object or text box in the message, "right click (or Shift+F10)>Wrap Text>In Line with Text."
Test: Are the image (object, text box) Layout Options set to "In Line with Text"? If not, the message fails this test.
Figure 16: Image Layout Options set to In Line with Text
Assistive technology users cannot access information in text boxes unless they are placed in line with text. Therefore, you must place text boxes in line so that Assistive Technology can read the text you type inside the text box.
To place images, objects, and text boxes in line you:
- Select the image, object, or text box.
- Right click (or Shift+F10) and select "Wrap Text>In Line with Text."
10. Are colors and other visual characteristics that convey information also described with text?
How to Test:
Note: Using only color or other visual characteristics such as size, shape, and location) to convey meaning will not provide comparable access to people who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind.
Instruction: Find where you have used color and/or other visual characteristics to convey meaning such as green, yellow, red, etc.
Test: Is there text that conveys the meaning of the color or other visual characteristics? If not, the message fails this test.
The following layout tables describe the progress for three projects using colors to symbolize the current project status. Adding text in addition to the color provides comparable information to users of assistive technology and people who are colorblind.
Use text to duplicate the meaning of the color or visual characteristics (such as size, shape, and location).
Table 1: Examples of Project status table using only color and color with text
11. Is the contrast ratio between text and background sufficient?
How to Test:
Note: If the message text is black on white background (or close to it), you do not need to perform this test. This test requires the Colour Contrast Analyser (an external application).
Instruction: Execute the Colour Contrast Analyser. Select "Download" (the application can be executed without downloading it onto your computer). Open the Colour Contrast Analyser. Drag the "Foreground eyedropper" icon over a sample of your text or image of text. Drag the "Background eyedropper" icon over a sample of your background color.
Test: Have you formatted with the correct color contrast ratio? If not, the message fails this test.
Figure 17: Examples of pass and fail results with the Colour Contrast Analyser
People who are colorblind or have low vision will have comparable access if there is sufficient contrast between the text and the background. The contrast standards are:
Table 2: Table with contrast ratios for types and sizes of text
|Type or Size of Text||Contrast Ratio|
|Standard text (12 pt regular)||4.5:1|
|Large Text (14 pt bold or 18 pt regular)||3:1|
|Incidental text, text overlaid on images, and logotypes||Excluded from requirement|
Create content with text or images of text that use color or shading with sufficient color contrast. If the contrast ratio does not pass, then adjust your foreground or background until it does pass.
Table 3: Examples of good and insufficient color contrast ratios
12. Are there corresponding descriptions of your embedded files and are they accurate?
If you embed an audio-only, video-only or multimedia file that contains meaningful information into your message, you must also provide additional information so that individuals with disabilities have comparable access to the information.
How to Test:
Note: If the message does not contain embedded audio, video, or multimedia files, you do not need to perform this test.
Instruction: Activate the audio-only, video-only, or multimedia file.
Test: Is there an accurate and complete text transcript for multimedia files, text description for audio files, and synchronized caption and/or audio description for video files? If not, the message fails this test.
If you embed an audio-only, video-only, or multimedia file that contains meaningful information into your MS Word message, you must also provide additional information so that individuals with disabilities have comparable access to the information.
Accurate and complete transcript
Accurate and complete text description
- Multimedia (audio and video)
Accurate and complete synchronized captions and audio descriptions
13. Did you exclude flashing objects?
How to Test:
Test: Is the document free of all flashing objects? If not, the document fails this test.
Create your content without using flashing objects. Flashing objects can cause seizures and should never be used.