Responsive Email Design: The Basics

Micah HattonAs mobile technology continues to gain traction as a viable way for customers to access content wherever and whenever they want, smart marketers are following the trend by creating and designing emails that work beautifully not only on a desktop screen, but also on a mobile device.
Responsive email design can be a tremendously effective way to reach a mobile audience and, when executed properly, can also look great on a full-size monitor as well. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to do to get your content in front of customers (regardless of screen type), and make it look good at the same time.

Get to the point: Simple is better (and not just for mobile). Copy and imagery should be succinct and scannable. Your website should provide the full details of your promotion; the email simply drives them there. We’ve all seen what happens when an email that looks incredible on a desktop hits your mobile inbox – and it’s not always pretty. Keeping your content more mobile-friendly shows you understand the mobile landscape, and that you’re tuned in to what people are looking for from their devices.

Flexible images: One way to ensure your content scales between the common desktop width of 600 to 700 pixels to the iPhone-sized width of 320 pixels is to design your emails in a one-column format, using full-width images that can scale up and down, to suit whichever device it’s being viewed on.

Clicks or swipes: It’s also important to remember that mobile users aren’t using a cursor and mouse; they’re using their fingers and thumbs. Making it easy-to-click links and calls to action is also paramount to responsive email design. Apple’s human interface guidelines define the minimum size for clickable areas as 22X44 pixels. If your links are easy to find and click, you’re doing your content a big favor from a user-experience standpoint.

Ultimately, designing emails that can look and function well on both a PC and mobile device is key to achieving the results you want from an email campaign. The customer is always changing, and the techniques we use to reach them must follow suit.

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