Usability is an often used keyword in design. Applications, products and services do not only need to be functional but also easy, intuitive and smooth to use. This also applies to email marketing newsletters. artegic AG has compiled 6 tips for you on what to bear in mind when creating a user-friendly newsletter design.

1. Phrase Subject Lines Short and Eye-catching

The subject line is fundamentally responsible for a newsletter being opened or not. This applies even more the larger the “competition” within the recipient’s inbox. The more emails compete for a recipient’s attention each day, the more essential it is to stand out from the crowd. Subject lines should therefore be formulated in a brief and precise way. They need to submit an interesting offer by means of only a few words.
At the same time, technical restrictions must be kept in mind. How many characters of the subject line can be displayed to the recipient, depends on the client used. In order to show full potential in common webmail clients, the relevant information should be contained in the first 64 characters of the subject line. In the case of mobile emails, even tougher restrictions apply, as the small screens of mobile terminal devices further limit the display.

2. Avoid Long Newsletter Texts

A recipient’s time is tight. According to a study by Norman Nielsen, a recipient only dedicates an average of 51 seconds to the content of a newsletter. The most important information should therefore be placed in the direct visual field in the upper part of the newsletter. In the case of longer newsletters, we recommend a table of contents as not all recipients continue to read on if the first information doesn’t engage their interest. Short teasers to individual newsletter components reduce the effort for recipients and allow them to capture relevant information quicker.
You must also remember here, that the display of newsletters on mobile terminal devices is restricted. For mobile emails, texts should therefore be even briefer and more precise.

3. Keep the Maximum Width of 600 Pixels

The maximum resolution of screens is increasing, but the width of emails has always been 600 pixels. This width is fixed with the common webmail clients. Wider emails therefore mean that the recipient has to scroll sideways – which does not make it very user-friendly However, independently from the technical restrictions, a lateral limitation makes sense. This has to do with the functionality of the human eye. We are not able to read long text lines quickly and fluently. After some time, the eye looses the line skip and the reader gets lost in the text.

4. Do Not Place Important Content as an Image

Many email clients blank out images in emails. The recipient will need to manually load them. A newsletter should therefore always work without images. The most relevant contents should be conveyed as text and not rely on graphical support. Images should always be a supplement. They must be placed in a way, that blocked spacers do not hinder the reading flow.

5. Adapt HTML Design to the Email Client Requirements

There are still no universal standards for the coding of emails. How a html design is displayed for the recipient, depends on the client’s requirements, which can interpret the code differently.
HTML emails should therefore be tested on all common clients. As the requirements of clients frequently change, it is important to regularly adapt all email codes. Generally, HTML design should be kept reduced, in order to facilitate the adaptation and reduce the risk of a faulty interpretation by the client.

6. Offer Emails as Text

Some recipients still read emails as pure text. This particularly applies to mobile emails. The newsletter should therefore not only be created in html but also in text format.
Modern email marketing systems, such as ELAINE FIVE, are able to send newsletters as multi-part emails. This means, the software sends the newsletter simultaneously as html and text version. Which version will be displayed when the recipient opens it, depends on his email client or the settings of this client.

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