The first article I read, Mobile Friendly? Or Mobile First?, was about mobile marketing and the use of mobile phones as the primary method of online shopping and payment. As creative agency Babcock & Jenkins notes, “Mobile isn’t a device category, it’s a way of life.” Nothing about this trend is slowing, the mobile user numbers are growing. There are two recommended approaches that are used in designing web and landing pages for mobile consumption: responsive design and adaptive design. “Mobile first” turns that concept on its head. Here you start with a lean site comprised of essentials. It should look good and work well. Then you apply “progressive enhancement” to adapt your design to ever-larger devices. The hot creative starting energy goes into the mobile device, and the rest of it is a continuous build rather than a paring away. That changes everything.
The second article, Marketing Email Design Do’s and Don’ts, discusses the decision of whether or not to include any graphics in an email depends on the type of email, its purpose and its overall marketing context. There are certainly cases where you’re better off having no graphics, as in specific types of nurture emails, or heavily personalized emails designed to appear like they truly came out of the mailbox of a person, typically a sales person. Research has shown that over 50% of emails are read on mobile devices. Which means that using non-responsive emails is a non-option. Responsive emails are made so primarily through the use of nifty little styling critters called ‘media queries’. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know how to code CSS – BTW, have you heard of this new attribute, Font-Facepalm? – But you should make yourself at least a little bit familiar with the technique. At minimum, to the degree that you can ask your email designer or HTML specialist whether they have mastered it. Importantly, responsive web design rules don’t apply equally to all email clients. Case in point: the super popular Gmail web and mobile app clients lack media query support, not to mention they require all CSS to be inlined within email markup. Each individual mail client renders based on its own CSS and HTML standards, therefore your design will not always look the same across all mail clients. The article ends with a helpful list of do and don’ts for designing emails.
The last article I read, 16 Site Tweaks to Do Today to Prepare Your Business for the Holiday Season, gives helpful tips to optimizing your site whether you are using responsive web design and/or media queries. Essentially, while there are various ways to configure your site for mobile, the simplest is responsive web design. Fluid page layouts, images that resize and media queries give you a site that looks great no matter what device it’s viewed on. For a new business, responsive web design is the most cost and time-effective option.