Saturday, September 29, 2012

Best practices for mobile email design

The web is going mobile, and so are emails. One in three in the UK says they access mobile email more than ever, and over half do so via a smartphone. 
Right now about 30% of all email checks are done from phones and tablets, and the usage grew by some 80% during 2011.

Reading versus scanning
This makes sense. Typically, web pages are browsed and read, while emails are checked and skimmed, easy to do while out and about. It also means that, if a majority of your target audience is assumed to use modern phones, your emails should possibly be designed primarily for the mobile market.
This switch is changing user behaviour, and estimates point to a growing importance of careful design. Surveys suggest that 40% of European mobile phone users close or delete email not optimised for their devices.
eDialog reports that around 80% of all users find it harder to read email on their phones and sums up the biggest complaints:
  • Having to scroll to read all information (15%),
  • A surplus of textual content (9%),
  • Images rendering badly or not at all (8%)

Steps for better results

Building on the points made earlier in this post, here are a few additional ways to optimize your emails, wherever and whatever a user’s location or device:
  • Make sure to include a plain text version. Including a plain text version with every HTML email you send, you offer an alternative. This is crucial for old mobile phones and makes life easier for disabled users.
  • Summarise the contents in the subject line. Use this space to give recipients the gist of your message. Make the subject interesting to sidestep the click-to-archive reflex. Intrigue, entertain, surprise.
  • The copy has it. Putting key messages and links in the top of the email has never been more important. Make sure the writing is sharp and concise. Simple and quick tweaks, such as editing a few lines of the content, can make a difference.
  • Don’t crowd your links. Give the user space to tap. Using a menu should not resemble a round of darts.


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