The Coffey Blog

Designing a mobile-friendly healthcare e-newsletter

Posted on: Monday, July 25, 2016

Tim Miller, Programmer/Analyst

If you're investing in an e-newsletter as part of your healthcare marketing efforts, it's important to make sure your subscribers can read what you send on mobile devices.

After all, more than half of emails are opened on mobile devices, according to Litmus.

Today's mobile healthcare consumers expect a great experience when viewing content on their mobile devices. They're likely to delete emails that aren't mobile-friendly without even reading them.

3 approaches to mobile-friendly email design

Currently, mobile-friendly emails tend to use one of the following design approaches:

1. Scalable design (also known as mobile-friendly or mobile-aware design). This simple approach involves designing an e-newsletter so that it looks good and works well on both desktop and mobile. It doesn't involve using code to adjust the layout for each platform.

Scalable design typically involves a simple single-column layout, large text that can easily be read on screens of all sizes, and buttons or calls to action that are big and easy to touch on mobile.

2. Fluid design. In a fluid email, column and image widths are set as percentages of the screen size rather than a fixed number of pixels. That means the design automatically adjusts to mobile, tablet and desktop screens.

Fluid design, however, doesn't offer a lot of control over how copy and images relate to each other. So it typically works better for text-heavy layouts than for emails with a lot of images.

While the trend toward responsive design is making fluid design less common, a fluid approach or a combination of fluid and responsive techniques can still be a good solution for a healthcare organization that doesn't have the resources for a fully responsive email campaign.

3. Responsive design. Like a responsive website, the design of a responsive email changes automatically to suit the size of the screen and to provide the best possible layout for a given device. Images and buttons may move. Text may be resized. Content may even be changed. All of this is accomplished via CSS media queries—code that changes what is displayed, and how, at varying screen sizes.

For example, a responsive email could display a complex, multicolumn layout when viewed on a desktop and a streamlined, single-column layout with large text and touch-friendly buttons when viewed on a mobile device.

An important limitation of responsive email design is that not all email clients support it , including the popular Android Gmail app. (Editor's note: We're happy to report that Gmail now supports emails created with responsive design.)

Pro tip: In any mobile-friendly design, it's a good idea to focus on text, not images. Images can slow download times—and some email clients block them by default.

What's the best approach for your healthcare e-newsletter?

The right approach to designing an e-newsletter depends on your goals, budget and audience. Any of the above approaches can let you create a great-looking email that will provide a good experience on mobile and desktop devices.

Need help with e-newsletter design?

If you'd like help making your e-newsletter mobile-friendly—or an audit to tell you whether it already is—call us at 888.805.9101 or email us.

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