The user behaviour of newsletter recipients is changing. Emails are frequently opened and read whilst on the move. Once a newsletter has been opened, it has to be displayed correctly no matter what mobile device is being used. The visual and functional quality of the message on a small screen, play a decisive role in the prospect’s behaviour. A study by Bluehornet showed that 80.3% of users immediately delete a mail if it is not displayed properly and 30.2% would unsubscribe from the newsletter.
Our newsletter statistics revealed that a third of our subscribers use mobile devices. Latest figures show that 47% of all emails are read on mobile devices (source: litmus), although many email campaigns are still being designed mainly for desktop display.
The Possibilities of Responsive Design
The aim is to design the layout of the newsletter so that it automatically adjusts to fit the screen size of the receiving device. The main parameter is (usually) the width of the screen. The trick is to make sure that the mail not only looks good, but also functions properly on the user’s terminal. There are a lot of ways to fine tune the way the message is displayed. The message must be clearly legible and this can often by improved just by changing the font. Responsive design enables one to eliminate the need for horizontal scrolling (which drives every user crazy) by automatically placing content which is laid out next to each other in the desktop newsletter, one below the other for mobile devices. Improved functionality is achieved by automatically changing links to the appropriate buttons.
If the email content is too complex for a smartphone or tablet, it is possible to hide certain parts in order to ensure a comprehensible presentation. The newsletter created with responsive design is not intended to be a twin of the desk-top version, it can and should set other priorities.
(We would like to invite you to view the way in which we use responsive design. Simply send a mail with the subject line “Newsletter” to PR@effective-world.com and we will send you our current edition.)
The choice of mail clients available for mobile devices is enormous and this makes it difficult to guarantee the uniform presentation of a mail on all smartphones or tablets. Many of the programmes distinguish themselves by the way in which they display the design for the end user. This then requires further fine-tuning of the final responsive design. In addition, not all mail clients can support media queries which are essential for the creation of an adaptable layout and consequently only the desktop version can be displayed. Apple mail clients, which generate the most mobile openings, have no problem with media queries. The same applies to the programmes used by the new generation of Amazon Kindle, Palm, Blackberry, Microsoft Windows and Android.
The adaptation of a newsletter for display on all devices leads to an increase in open rates and a reduction in the number of readers who unsubscribe. A switch to a responsive design is necessary to meet today’s mobile user demands and this trend will develop further in the years to come. Once, the design is complete, the wide range of email clients available means that it is absolutely essential to conduct thorough tests and to make adjustments where necessary.