Now that 50% of email opens occur on a mobile device some considerations should be made when choosing a design approach. Ultimately your metrics from your ESP will shape how you design your campaigns, but here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your email strategy and design:
1. Use inline CSS. External styles perform poorly, so most designers will use styles inside HTML tags like so: hello world
2. Use scalable images. Most mobile email clients will scale images specified by your inline CSS. Let’s say you have a header image that is 700 pixels when viewed as a webpage or in a desktop client, but you do not want to have the email render too large in a mobile device: We have found that the following IMG tag syntax provides wide support: Width: 100% will scale up and down depending on the client, but not stretch the image larger than it’s native resolution.
3. Make sure you are testing! Remember that every email client will look slightly different so be sure you can get accectable results from the top platforms that your audience will be using. Realize that Outlook (for desktop) is one of the poorer performers when it comes to rendering CSS styles, so you may have to choose between leaning towards a more mobile-friendly layout or a more Outlook-friendly layout. Keep an eye on your open metrics as a guide.
4. Use CSS floats and margins with care, as Outlook (for desktop) does not honor those properties. Most mobile clients do support these properties, so you may need to consider how important mobile rendering is vs. outlook rendering. Some companies see mobile as high as 75% of their total opens, while the average split is 50/50.
5. The jury is still out on true responsive design for email. Many important clients have little or no support for media queries and embedded style sheets. At this point we recommend using inline scaling and percent values in your inline CSS rather than attemping a true reponsive solution like you would implement for a web browser.
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