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The Importance of Design in a Mobile-Optimized Email

By Koi Hernandez, Design Fellow at GovDelivery

Design as a whole is a very broad subject—from street signs to buildings to T.V. ads—design touches nearly every element of our lives. But that doesn’t mean it’s always done well.

As a government communicator, design can make or break the comprehension of your message—the components that make your message easy on the eyes, but also that tell a story to get your stakeholder to take action and engage with your organization’s mission. When it comes to digital communications, design plays an important role in your reader’s experience.

responsive-layout-devicesIn today’s mobile world, 66% of email opens happen on smartphones or tablets. By taking a few extra steps to simplify and optimize your design for the mobile reader, you’ll be sure to keep your stakeholders engaged with your content and mission.

Here are five widely used practices that make up effective and engaging email design:

Keep Things Simple

Single stacked column layouts are the way to go when designing for mobile devices, so try to keep your layout constrained to no more than 600 pixels. The more clutter you have in your email, the more likely it will cause your email to “break” and interfere with your reader’s experience. Also by keeping your layout simple, it’s easier to troubleshoot and can be reused for subsequent email campaigns.

Bigger is Better

Viewing and reading text, images and buttons through a 600 pixel window can be strenuous to the reader’s eyes. Try to keep your font at least 13 pixels or bigger for easier legibility. The same applies to your buttons. Remember, the average person’s attention span is roughly 7—8 seconds. Keeping your buttons large and attention grabbing will ensure that your reader notices them in a quick scroll through the email.

See More, Read Less

Don’t forget to also increase the size and amount of your images. Email clients are now making the switch to showing images by default, so more and more organizations are taking advantage of this new change.  Choose imagery that has diversity and connects to your audience, rather than the standard images of coffee mugs and laptop users. Keep your content short and simple, and let your imagery complement what you’re trying to say. To further engagement, you can always place links that direct stakeholders to your website for more details.

Try Color Blocking

Keep in mind that you want to design for your audience, so if images are not appropriate (in government communications, sometimes they’re not) blocks of colors can do the trick. Lately flat design and colors have been getting more popular, due to the simplicity and “clean feeling” it gives to layouts. Choose colors that provide contrast to the font color you’re using to make your design more unified, simple and high energy.

Focus on User Experience

Always think about how your viewer is going to interact with your email. Make smart decisions in terms of the placement of images, text, links and buttons. What is the first and last thing you want them to see? Is there enough room to click on a link or a button if it’s a fingertip doing the clicking instead of a mouse? Though they may seem minute, these layout decisions can bolster your email’s success.

By using these five tips, you’ll be sure to increase comprehension and engagement with your organization’s emails. Simpler is better when it comes to optimized mobile design so keep in mind how the reader will experience your email.

What design best practices do you follow in your organization? Anything you’d like to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!