New year resolution 4 of 12 – get responsive!

6 minute read

As new year resolutions go, this one is a no-brainer. If you’re not already using responsive design in your email campaigns then your new year resolution 4 of 12 is urgent – get responsive!



This year it’s likely that over half (in some cases over 60%) of the emails that you send will be read on a mobile device – that is a smartphone, phablet or tablet. If your readers need to pinch and scroll to read your messages it’s estimated that up to 80% will reach for the delete button. With this in mind wer’e amazed that less than 20% of all emails delivered are optimised for mobile design.

We’ve been championing responsive emails for a while here at and no doubt you are familiar with the many benefits they offer. If not, read on. But what is the best approach to take when designing for mobile optimised campaigns?

Before we start – don’t be confused between ‘responsive’ and ‘scalable’ design. Scalable design simply shrinks your desktop content to fit a smaller screen. Not good. Responsive design is more intelligent, automatically adjusting things like layout, images and other content so that it is optimised for whatever screen size it is read on. That’s a big difference.


So here are 5 considerations when thinking about responsive design.

1. Keep in mind your overall layout
First and foremost, keep in mind your overall layout. A two column structure will best showcase your campaign and optimise your content at mobile level. Any images used in these columns can retain their native height and width values without suffering from image degradation that can be prevalent when using a three column structure.

2. Consider screen space
Screen space is important, bear in mind the length of your campaign. Consider if you need to include all sections, remove anything that isn’t relevant to your mobile audience.

3. Remember your fonts and line heights
Another important factor that a lot of people slip up on is type size and line heights. If you’ve gone to the trouble of making your campaign responsive, make sure to increase the font size, we’re dealing with a small screen space and you don’t want your audience to still have to pinch and zoom. Bump the type size up by at least 2px. I never use less than 16px for body copy and between 18px and 20px for header styles.

4. Prominent calls to action
Make your call to action buttons prominent and easily accessible. I like to use a full width block of colour to highlight CTA’s. Think “are these easily tap-able” and allow for oversized digits.

5. Images vs. text
Don’t use too many images, the mobile device has to download these and so bandwidth optimisation is something to keep in mind. Every mobile device platform except iOS blocks email images by default, and provides a prompt for the user to turn on images. Use images sparingly, and carefully consider image size.

Using these techniques will help you to enhance your campaign, delivering a unique and user focused experience to your mobile audience.


So, your new year resolution number 4 is to make sure all of your design orientated emails are responsive.

The platform contains a wide range of responsive email design templates (and all of our new templates and design tools are built as responsive from the ground up.) Just select the one you like, customise to your brand and drag and drop your assets into place. The responsive part is hard coded into the HTML so it’s all taken care for you.

Here’s a summary of a few actions to take:

1. Read some more on responsive design on our website.
2. Review your current campaigns. If design is important (that is they are not just plain text style) then they should almost certainly be responsive.
3. If you are a customer ask us for a personalised Device Open Report – that way you’ll see exactly which devices (and operating systems) your emails are being read on.
4. Don’t forget to check your website too. If your campaigns lead people to your website don’t spoil the impact of your nice responsive emails by directing people to a non-responsive website. Aha!

I’ll be back with new year resolution 5 of 12 soon. In the meantime if you have any questions regarding responsive design, give us a call, we’ll be pleased to help.