A Mobile First Approach in Emailing A Mobile First Approach in Emailing

A Mobile First Approach in Emailing

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on 12 March 2018


Eric Schmidt (Google CEO until 2011) stated several years ago: “The simple guideline is: whatever you’re doing, do mobile first”. If the remark was considered revolutionary at the time, it is clear today, that the mobile first approach has become indispensable.

Why mobile first?

In 2016, 50.7% of the French population connected to the Internet daily from their mobiles. We also know that half of Internet users prefer consulting their emails on this device [2]. Internet users are becoming mobile users. Consequently, it is essential that newsletters be designed optimally for mobiles. And for those reasons, at altima°, we apply a mobile first strategy when we design our emails.

But what is mobile first in emailing?

Mobile first is not only starting the design of an email with the mobile version. It is a thought process that incites to best define mobile display. Also, unlike web responsiveness that proposes a desktop version and a mobile version, the mobile first approach implies a different work method. The goal of this approach is to optimize reading emails on all formats. Mobile first emails are omnichannel: whether on the mobile, the computer or a tablet, the user experience is simplified and flowing.

Adapting an email to different devices – Facilitated by Baptiste Wenders

What does this imply?

When you know that a smartphone screen has 80% less space than a computer screen, you understand that it’s necessary to lighten up on content, to simplify, and to focus on the essential. On a mobile, you can’t display as many components as on a computer screen. As a result, it becomes necessary to keep the components that really count to hold the user’s attention, to simplify his/her reading, and email pathway.

If a mobile first approach is not taken from the onset of the project, it’s easy to bet that in the move from desktop to mobile, you’ll have texts that are too lengthy, a message that’s too late, compositions that are difficult to adapt, CTA wording that takes up 2 lines, and more. In thinking mobile first, thought is given to all these elements ahead of time. Three key words are: “simplicity, speed, efficiency

When creating a mobile first mobile, it’s also important to step into the mobile users shoes. As Luke Wroblewski reminds us in his guide Mobile First, “[on a mobile] think one eye and one thumb”. In fact, reading an email on a smartphone is done with one hand and often in situations where the reader’s attention is reduced, where his/her concentration may be disturbed by outside elements. By adapting the email structure and message to this constraint, you’ll more quickly and easily reach the mobile user.

“Mobile first” emailing for San Marina

 And on the technical side?

Thought on integration of a mobile first email must be done with total adapting of the different blocks on all formats. That’s why it’s necessary to move away from traditional email integration methods.

There are several integration techniques. The most common is to manage all the components by percentage and to add MSO conditions to enable optimal display on webmails, Microsoft applications, and obviously on mobiles.

Classic responsive integration with media queries implied having certain blocks in 2 versions (1 desktop and 1 mobile). Mobile first proposes one version for each block that adapts as a function of the device width.

This offers greater advantages not only from the design aspect but also the development and acceptance testing phase. So, it’s necessary that the integrator and the designer speak regularly in order to avoid any block integration or mobile adaptation problems which would require the use of media queries. Once the mobile first integration is completed, it’s always possible to add upgrades in media queries (for supported devices) in order to have an optimized email version (hamburger menu, fold-down information blocks, sliders etc.).

This mobile first approach represents the future in email design. Today it’s essential and it will allow you to better reach your audience while boosting your campaign performances!

Thanks to Marion Duvet, CRM Project Manager and Baptiste Wenders, Group Technical Emailing Advisor, for their collaboration on the subject. 


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A Mobile First Approach in Emailing