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Mobile Friendly Emails - How Do They Do It? - Ashish Kulkarni

Mobile Friendly Emails – How Do They Do It?

Mr. X was habituated to send image rich cumbersome emails, till one day his friend pointed out, “Uff, your mails are so tough to read on my mobile phone?” I am sure some of you must be doing the same thing as Mr. X did.

Considering the population that accesses internet on mobile devices, the possibility of receiving your mail on a mobile is pretty high. Thus, it is best to send mobile friendly email messages. Your email communication has to be strong and consistent across devices and operating systems.

How to write mobile friendly email messages?

Large Fonts

Small fonts strain your eyes. 10 pixel fonts trouble your eyes especially when someone is reading on the mobile phone. It is quite tempting to skip your message than getting exhausted while reading the email.

Stick to 13 or 14 pixel font size as it is readable; you can go even beyond that.

Short and Crispy Subject Lines

What is that captures the attention of the reader first? It is Subject line. The space available on the phone to display your subject line is small, so keep it restricted to 40 characters. Or let the most important words be highlighted in the first 40 characters. This skill can be acquired after sending a few mails and giving it a careful thought, it may be a challenge for even the tersest writer.

Make it Under 600 Pixel Wide

Most mobile phones are able to handle responsive designs, but some cannot. So it’s best to set email width to 600 pixels or lesser, if possible. You can make some changes to your email template and adjust template width to 600 pixel or use the CSS width property to make this adjustment.

Even Two is Crowd

Multiple columns make the content look dense on any mobile device. It is not easy for the reader to scout the information. Why make the job of the reader even more difficult and confusing to navigate.

Test on Multiple Devices

Buy all available mobile phone models from market and make sure you test your email on each of these devices. Oh yes! I was kidding. You don’t have to buy multiple mobile phones to test your emails. Litmus provides email previews for more than 30 email clients. Provide HTML of your email message. Litmus has this amazing service of opening your message in 30 different email clients; it has screenshots of each and also sends you results of those.

Small Images

Images take time to load. If the images are small it takes lesser time to load. Many mobile users are on a slower internet connections, thus big images would consumer more time to load.

If you know someone who is technically sound ask them to set a responsive coding technique, so that smaller images get loaded on mobile devices and larger on other devices like desktop. You can also shrink images to 50% and maybe compress the images at a higher compression than normal. This will load images faster thus, conserve the recipient’s bandwidth.

No Menu Bars

You don’t need a traditional menu bar in an email. It is just an email and not an all comprehensive website. Keep it simple and completely avoid menu bars.

Distinct Call to Action

Your email should prompt the recipient to initiate an action. This call to action should be easy for the recipient to perform on a mobile device. It can be an image or text that leads him to a place that you wish to take him.

Your call to action should be distinct and easy to tap with fingers. If it is too small and cumbersome then the recipient might get fed up and move on. Remember fingers are not as precise as mouse pointers.

An Image for Call to Action

Email clients sometimes display images of only verified email addresses. Chances are that if the call to action is an image, and your recipient doesn’t have the images enabled for that particular address, then it will not load image.

Isn’t it disappointing that you took efforts to craft a mail and the call to action doesn’t serve its purpose. All your efforts can go in to waste. Instead keep an image with a descriptive ALT tag so that the image has the text matching with the image, something like ‘click here’.

If you receive a mail from your dear ones and the email doesn’t get loaded properly on your mobile device, you will put in some efforts to read it. But, not every time. You will probably just give up on it completely. So instead of killing the purpose of the mail make it mobile friendly.

On which device do you read your emails often, on laptop/desktop or mobile? How is your experience with emails on these devices?

  1. rahul dayama 8 years ago

    Just one question: How can one use/have menu bars in a mobile mail?

    • Ashish Kulkarni 8 years ago

      Hello Rahul,

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      Imagine this in blue/red background strip at the top of your email. One shall never engage in creating such menu bars at the top of email body, below logo company logo which is a typical design for a company website.

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