How often do you check your email on your phone? Chances are, it’s pretty frequently. We’re constantly on the run — and, hey, what did you really buy that smartphone for anyway? Email is one of the primary ways we use our phones. Yet, like websites, there’s a disconnect when it comes to mobile-formatted emails. We get them in mobile versions through our mobile email clients, but the emails are not mobile-optimized. The text is often too small and the images make you pinch and zoom.
Next time you’re drafting emails that some users may access on their phones, consider making a mobile version as well. You may even want to include a link that says “Mobile Version” at the top of your body text, so mobile users can easily access the mobile email on the go.
Font size: Font for mobile emails needs to be larger than that of standard emails. Apple will automatically increase small font to be the minimum of 13 pixels. On Android devices, 16-18 scale-independent pixels are considered medium and large text sizes. Many designers recommend a minimum of 14 pixel font for body text and minimum of 22 pixel font for headlines.
Concise headlines: I’m taking a note from app design tips for this one. Try working with a 35-character limit on headlines, and put your most important words up front.
Design: Single and double column design tend to work the best in mobile, with single being favored by developers looking for complete simplicity. A double column design could work for an email newsletter with a full text, featured article. For snippet-based email newsletters, a single column design would increase clarity.
Sending format: Multipart MIME is used by most professional email marketers, and for mobile email design, that approach should not change. This format sends the email content in both HTML and plain text. Using Multipart MIME will assure your email content is available, even if the mobile device only allows text.
Images: Visual content can draw people in, but don’t overdo it. When including images, assign alt text to each in case images are blocked. Alt text associated with images will allow people to know what the image is, even when blocked. Apple’s iOS enables images to display by default, which is good news for email marketers using visuals.
Dimensions: While designing for Android, stay under 600 pixels. The Litmus Blog suggests that the overall size if is trimmed to between 320 and 550 pixels. This size requirement is specifically for non-iOS phones, because Apple devices will automatically resize the content.
Contrast: A higher contrast between content makes images and text more legible.
Creatives: Your creative calls-to-action need to be eye-catching and tappable, with a minimum size of 44 x 44 points.
Test: Testing is the only way to make sure your mobile design looks appropriate on different devices. Since mobile designs are typically slimmer in content than a regular email newsletter or promotional piece, it is even more important to have all links working properly.
Have any tips for great mobile email design? Let us know in the comments below!