Avoid These Common Email Design Mistakes

Many email marketers begin campaigns by seeking to translate web design into emails. While maintaining brand consistency is important, designing for messages requires an attractive approach to the output. For many web designers, there are varying standards for desktop and mobile support across CSS and JavaScript outputs; on the other hand, email programs can have rendering capability from full HTML and CSS to text only. As a result, it’s important your emails’ being fully designed across a variety of applications so you can maximize the readability of the contents.

Not thinking about internal navigation structure

Email design should focus on user experience, just as web design standards do. It’s important to understand the role of email previews, text-only readers, and user flow. Having a clear header and footer which provides users with information and meets email standards is an important part of the overall process. Designers should think carefully about how users engage with email content from the preview to subject line to the actual layout of the email itself. Providing a clear table of contents can help users better understand the overall flow of the piece and help them navigate to your site offerings for further information.

Building out emails in just rich media

Focus on usability and readability can help ensure your emails are visible across a variety of platforms. The user’s initial view of your message will largely determine whether they keep reading. This means designing user-friendly layouts which incorporate optional images. Since many email programs feature a preview of the message, it’s important to lead with a top design which renders across nearly every platform. A great idea is to offer an outline of the message with a clear introduction so readers have a sense of its purpose. Design is about communication, and properly designed emails are optimized for readers.

Thinking about graphics rather than layout

While powerful graphics are an important part of email campaigns, you should always start by thinking about the layout in the context of the overall structure. By placing compelling content at the top with text in a clean layout (with alt-text where images are placed) you can see how your email will look in a variety of previews. Don’t get too intricate with use of scripts and rich media since many users cannot see these files. Instead, provide a high-quality plan text version of the email along with a link to a full rich media version which sits on your server, this will make it easier for users to navigate based on their preferences. By thinking carefully about the type of email and its purpose from promotional to informational you can better define options for user navigation.