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With the advent of smart phones and tablets, more and more email is being viewed “on-the-run”. Depending on whose statistics you rely on, at least 50% of all email is now opened on a mobile device. Interestingly though, B2C emails are opened twice as often on a mobile as B2B email – this makes some sense when you consider many B2B emails are addressed to “accounts@” addresses that will typically be opened on a desktop in an office.

For anyone that sends a large volume of email, it is essential that their designs and coding take account of these new devices and the manner in which email content is being viewed on them.

To ensure communications are effective, it is important for organisations to present a clear and concise picture of what they are sending, whether it is an invoice or a new marketing campaign.

In order to achieve this, the email industry has been working hard to define a new set of standards and rules that allow email to be formatted in such a way that it looks great – whichever device the recipient decides to view it.

This is called responsive email design.

But, and it is a big BUT, all the great code in the world can’t take account of a design that does not consider different sized screens, let alone screens that change when they rotate 90 degrees.

Many design agencies are simply not up to speed with this aspect of marketing and as a result email template designers have to try and fit “square pegs into round holes”. If email drives any part of your business and you use a design agency, they need to be able to demonstrate that they have a clear grasp of the new responsive paradigm, otherwise we all end up pushing the proverbial uphill and more importantly creating a poor user experience while spending more than we need to.

At Cumulo9 we recommend that each of our templates be presented to us in three formats:

  • Desktop
  • Tablet
  • Smartphone

That way, everyone gets to sign off on what the template will look like on each device and there are no surprises.

Luckily there are more and more code snippets that allow for a single template to be coded so that it achieves the desired look and feel. However, it does take a significant amount of extra time to do the job properly, including the exponential testing that is involved in checking each different type of desktop/tablet/smartphone client and web browser combination.

So, as with everything in this electronic world, it’s like the proverbial duck. On the surface of the lake it looks smooth and elegant, while underwater, the legs are paddling away!

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about responsive email.

Chris Hogg
Chris has 20 years experience in Europe and North America working with payment and billing systems. He has held roles ranging from sales support through to managing international operations for US multinationals. Along the way Chris has worked with most major banks and telephone companies in Europe and America as well as their regulatory bodies. He has worked on National EftPos schemes in Europe, implementing Telephone number portability (LNP) throughout North America and setting up one of the first revenue assurance practices in Europe. Chris returned to New Zealand in 2002 and has focused on working with early stage companies looking to make an impact on the international stage.
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