Responsive Design for Mobile Email: Ooh! Shiny!

  • 0
  • 17 September 2012
  • Stephan Hovnanian

    Well said, Samantha, and I agree…responsive email design is too difficult (and support too spotty) to work effectively. Tried it last year, “bombed” was an understatement (although I tried to go full-monty: 100% fluid, responsive). But there are definitely some methods that can get you close enough so the emails are still readable on Android & Gmail.

    First, though, people need to get those landing pages to be mobile optimized (and for that, I support responsive design). Otherwise it’s all for naught.

  • Jordie van Rijn

    Samantha, great article and welcome to the Blog. I hope there will be a lot more good stuff following from the eMaven :) 

    I love the live content, but it will only work when images are turned on. So for a lot of mobile readers it wont have an impact (because they dont have their images turned on by default). 

    • Jordan Cohen

      Jordie, according to the latest Mobile Email Opens Report from Knotice, 35% of all email opens (ie, images displayed) are now occurring on mobile.

      Default image suppression has been around for years in the desktop environment, and marketers managed (thrived actually). Same applies to mobile: Marketers who create relevant, wanted messages will achieve high click-to-display-images rates and do fine.  :-)

      • Jordie van Rijn

        It was even 36,1%. I keep a pretty good eye on those stats.

        But it is good to know that not all have images on, and therefore imagebased optimization isn’t the only thing to look at if you want to mobileproof your emails.

    • Samantha Iodice

      Thanks Jordie, I’m thrilled to be here and hope to continually provide the goods :)

  • Pete Austin

    Responsive design is especially important for triggered emails, for example cart abandonment.

    Time is of the essence with many types of triggered messages, because people need to read them *before* thay have made up their minds and bought elsewhere.

    So the people who matter most are those able to read the emails right now, which will be more true of mobile users.

    • Stephan Hovnanian

      I agree with you, Pete, on responsive design for web…but for emails, triggered messages (especially for cart abandonment) are so focused and targeted that you wouldn’t come across as many layout and design issues as you would with, say, a newsletter. For that reason, you could adopt a simple layout for these messages that will perform fine from desktop to mobile.

    • Samantha Iodice

      I agree 100% Pete; however, the quandary is that responsive design in email doesn’t work across the board. I would rather design and deploy an email optimized for mobile rendering that can indeed be seen than have a high percentage break because the coding isn’t supported.

      Better yet, a device triggered Movable Ink app 😉

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  • JimAtGoolara

     Are we talking Firefly shiny or little kid shiny? 😉 Great article, Samantha. I like responsive design but you’re right, it can be a pain to set up, and, you STILL need to make sure your email looks good on a phone without it.

  • dmgerbino

    Great info but a better source for mobile email platforms ability to support responsive email techniques can be found at the StyleCampaign blog. The October 2012 post provides a lot of detail:

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  • Nicole Loyal-Windham

    Great resource for the Responsive Design Knowledge Hub. Check it out here:

    • Jordie van Rijn

      Thanks for including that link Nicole, there are some handy articles behind it!

      • Nicole Loyal-Windham

        You’re welcome :) glad you found it helpful!

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