Responsive design for email marketing, part one

Making emails mobile-friendly, one template at a time

Emma’s a strategic gal. When the time is right to release a new product, there’s much thought that goes into what the story is that we want to tell our customers. That story – ranging from the latest Zadie Smith to Are You My Mother? – is inspired by our own habits as well as what we’re gleaning from you.

Toward the end of last year, Mashable called 2013 "the year of responsive design." Their article speaks largely about web design, but if you’re anything like us, you wear glasses while consuming emails on a variety of platforms, too: smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

That’s why it’s important to optimize your email campaigns so that they look their best and brightest, no matter the stage.

What responsive design means at Emma

Our product developers and designers have been thinking about mobile-optimized email design for a while now. And with the release of our new drag & drop editor and new template language to go along with it, Emma is poised for responsive design in the inbox. Wherever that inbox may be. 

So, how do we go from being poised for responsive design to actually achieving responsive design? We experiment with our own email newsletter, of course. 

We coded our last email newsletter to change format when viewed on a mobile device.

Emma UX designer Cale Mooth – who’s done the actual template work, coding, CSS, HTML retrofitting, whozywhatsit to optimize our own email and some of the templates in our readymade design collections – said adaptive emails improve your recipients’ experience.

“Looking at something on a small device versus a desktop or laptop, it’s a totally different experience,” he said. “So if you can cater to those specific devices, I think it’s just one more chance for users to identify with the content you’re putting out there, react with it, interact with it.”

So what is mobile optimization, and should you be scared? It means that your email design responds and adapts to the device your recipients are using to experience it. And yes, of course you should be scared: Haven’t you noticed the uptick in zombie TV shows and movies?

According to eMarketer, the average American adult spent almost an hour and a half a day last year on their mobile busy with non-phone activity – That’s twice what it was in 2010 and a 50 percent increase from 2011.

“There’s been a big trend just in overall website design, not so much apps, just as far as conveying messaging to let that content be optimized,” said David Wright, a senior product owner at Emma who has researched trends in the market. “With the trend of more and more email being read and interacted with on a mobile phone, you’re not tethered to a computer anymore or tethered to a big screen.”

Are you ready to optimize your emails for mobile?

Emma customers can access mobile-ready templates in our collection of free readymade email templates. Our design team is working on optimizing each free design, but for now you can spot the mobile-ready ones at a glance. 

Stay tuned for next week's conclusion of Emma's Responsive Email Design: Zombie Slayer


Read more about making smart email design decisions in our Brainiac Guide to Images in Email

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