It’s easy to take for granted just how much the shift to mobile has changed our lives. Mobile has untethered us from our offices and enabled us to work and share on the go. It’s kept us in touch with loved ones and business associates via social and other web-based platforms at all times of the day and night and in places ranging from the soccer field to the office to the corner coffee shop.
Mobile has also changed the way we use and think about email. Now, roughly 42% of all email is opened on a mobile device (27% on iPads, 56% on phones). Indeed, mobile has grown 366% over the past five years. (Source: Silverpop.) To ensure your emails are effective it is now essential to think about how your emails look and work on mobile devices. It’s trickier than it sounds.
Size really matter!
For one thing, screen sizes vary from about 2.3” wide (iPhone width) to 7.3” wide (Nexus 7 width), and some people are even looking at email on their increasingly large TV screens.
But no matter the screen size, subscribers are all viewing emails in stages, making choices as they go. So, feeding them key information can lead them more successfully through your message. The key elements to keep in mind as you think through enticing people to open your email are…
- From Name
- Subject Line
This means from and subject lines matter more than ever. And now, you want to consider writing a preheader for your email as well. Never heard of a preheader? In short, they’re tertiary inbox content that appear as visible text on mobile devices.
In addition to keeping the info honest, concise and interesting, keep ideal character lengths in mind as well.
From lines should be approximately 25 characters or less.
Subject lines should be approximately 35 characters or less. Preheaders should be approximately 75 characters or less.
Touch also counts!
Even with the many sizes and rendering considerations, touch is increasingly a unifying characterisitic of the mobile experience. Put another way, tap is now the new click! This means links are simply less precise, which has an impact on best practices. Consider using buttons and text links in combination—buttons work well on mobile devices but text links render better through email.
And, for example, avoid impossible form fields. If you’re going to make someone fill out a form on your site or email, be sure they can easily touched and avoid interstitial boxes on landing pages (you know those boxes that pop up over websites to share info with the tiny “x” in upper corner? Pretty hard to touch that little “x” with your index finger!)
To-do’s include turning pop-ups off for mobile users, thinking through registration pages for B-to-B email, and just generally ensuring that your email or web page is easy to navigate and finger friendly!
And good looks don’t hurt either!
Even with Inconsistent rendering across devices and operating sytems, most do still treat the upper left quadrant as a preview pane (just like in any other inbox). There are many ways to design for mobile and new ideas and technologies emerging all the time, but the key thing is to simply be aware that people are opening on smaller screens and using their fingers to navigate around. So address this change in various ways. A few best practices are:
More white space
Clear calls to action
One layout for all screen sizes
Single column design
Short, or at least concise, body copy
Hope it helps!
This article was originally published in Powerlines, PWR New Media’s newsletter.