The idea of responsive websites has been around for a while, and their use as a solution to mobile optimisaton is increasingly becoming standard where sites receive significant levels of mobile traffic. But what about email? With more and more people opening emails on their smart phones the idea of mobile optimisation of email campaigns has to be a consideration. However, as has always been the case with email, the level of sophistication available in email design has been restricted by the patchy support for new “standards” among email clients, and the need to design for the “lowest common denominator”.
So where does “Responsive” fit into this?
In its simplest terms “responsive” design uses cascading style sheets (CSS) media queries (put simply; code that identifies the screen size and changes the design accordingly) to adapt the design for small screens (in particular smartphones). However not all email clients support media queries (you will find details of levels of support by email client here), and where they do not support it, they will simply be ignored. So when it comes to responsive design in email, the process is fairly straightforward:
- Using Google Analytics, identify where most of your users are accessing your emailwebsite (Mobile or Desktop)
- By default, design your email to cater for the majority (lets assume this is desktop)
- Use media queries to adapt this default design for the minority (assumed to be mobile)
Taking this approach, the email will be optimised for the majority (desktop), and for the minority where their email client does not support media queries, the email will simply display the desktop version. However where mobile email clients do support media queries they will see the mobile optimised version. As technology moves on and more clients start to support media queries, the responsive nature of the design will benefit a increasing number of your readers.
Marketing Matters goes Responsive
Starting with the 21st March Issue, Marketing Matters now uses a responsive design, and if you view the email on a mobile device that has the support, you will find it much easier to read (bigger text and buttons to make it easier to navigate on a small screen). If however you are viewing it on a desktop, tablet or non supporting mobile device the design will look unchanged from previous issues. If you would like to talk to use about whether you should consider responsive design in your emails, we would love to talk to you.