2015: Things to watch for in Email

Responsive support: Android has reportedly pulled the native app on at least some handsets, leaving the Gmail Inbox as the default app. Unfortunately, like Gmail and the Gmail app, Inbox strips out the head of the email, including the media queries, so does not display the mobile version of the email. However in a recent Q&A Gmail have said that media query support is on the roadmap… fingers crossed.  And that’s a good point to remind everyone, just because people are opening email on mobile - doesn’t mean they’re seeing the mobile version!

Plain Text Versions: A lot of companies ignore the importance of the plain text version – its main use now is for getting through spam filters. Oh and let’s not forget blackberries (oh wait, let’s). But with the launch of Apple Watch and the rumours that it displays plain text emails, it’ll put it back on the map. In my opinion, if they’ve done anything other than notification or plain text version then they’re idiots.

Animated gifs: A carry over from my prediction from last year – but they have been seen more and more in emails, and in increasingly clever ways. Look out for them being used to tell more of the story, rather than just to be eye catching. See this example from Evernote, and this showstopper from Litmus that blew the email community’s mind.

From a functional point of view, Anna Yeaman of Style Campaign reported a 26% increase in click-throughs when testing an email with animated gifs versus the same email without.

Simplistic Design: I’m seeing more very simple emails – done right. Rather than overly complex, cluttered, text-heavy emails, more and more companies are turning to a ‘minimalist’ look. Clean colours and clean lines, which not only translate easily and intelligently into a mobile version, but are easier to read and act upon. Have a look at the clean lines in this example from ActionRocket and this real back-to-basics design from rodriguezcommaj

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