Using E-mail in the Workplace As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Man holding Ipad

As you know, the primary mode of communication between many coworkers, particularly within offices, is email. Convenient? Most definitely. Personal? Not quite.

Yes, email has its advantages and disadvantages. For that reason, there is a time to send email and a time to schedule a face-to-face or phone meeting. If your message could be easily misunderstood because it’s complicated or intended to be sarcastic, schedule a meeting or make a phone call. I’d also recommend a meeting if you’re about to share unpleasant news, provide significant constructive criticism, and when you need an immediate response.

For the many occasions email is appropriate, apply the following email guidelines:

  • Utilize the email address issued by your company ( or an alternative professional-sounding email address ( Please don’t present yourself as unprofessional with addresses such as “” or “”. Got it? Good.
  • Provide a descriptive, straightforward email subject in the subject line of each sent email. It will save your coworkers’ time as they sort through their inboxes.
  • Workplace email conversations, particularly with supervisors, are not the place for casual writing. “Good morning,” is much preferred to “Hey Doug.” and full sentences should be written instead of incomplete thoughts.
  • Respond to your supervisor’s and coworker’s emails as quickly as possible. A response can be an answer to a question, or simply an “Ok, thank you.” to let the sender know you received the message.
  • Avoid typing in all capital letters, as words in “all caps” are equated with yelling.
  • Do not use the “reply all” feature when responding to an email, unless the information you are sending is important for all recipients to read.
  • Choose your email signature with care. Your “signature” is a brief block of text automatically inserted at the end of your email’s. Your signature should contain your name, title, contact information, and a website URL if applicable. The information should be useful for recipients to read, but not distracting with unprofessional spelling errors and childish clip art.
  • Consider all email conversations as potential public record. Never write what you would not want read by the general public.
  • Proofread the content for spelling and grammatical errors before sending the message. If you are blind or visually impaired and using a screen reader, I’d recommend asking a sighted individual (who has mastered homophones such as two, to and too) for a quick review.
  • Don’t be quick to hit send. Read and reread your message to check for clarity; ask a friend, family member, or coworker to proofread an important message; and (particularly if you wrote the message while upset) ensure you’re emotionally cooled off before sending irrevocable words.

You’re a professional. Don’t let your email messages portray you otherwise. Be on the lookout for a new curriculum from CareerConnect regarding maintaining and advancing in your career. The curriculum will have information and counsel such as this blog post for employees who are blind or visually impaired.