I am writing this column on an iPad. My PC crashed. I was sad. It was only a few months old and was working so well. Sigh.
While traveling on business, and with deadlines to meet, the only option I had was to convert 100 percent to an iPad and keep working. So I downloaded a bunch of productivity apps and set up my e-mail to link to exchange, and…voila! This column is born.
I have to say, the iPad e-mail interface is pretty nice. And the keyboard is not too hard to type quickly on. Thanks to the predictive text, most of the sentence you are reading probably even makes sense.
What I have realized though as I use iPad mail, is that e-mail quickly becomes a silo. Unlike my desktop, I am no longer able to enjoy having 20 different windows open at the same time and effectively switching back and forth between them.
As many different reading devices and smartphones hit the market, the way consumers interact with e-mail will have a specific impact on the effectiveness of our messages. Not just from a design perspective, but from a link and interface perspective. Here are a few things as an e-mail marketer you are going to need to consider as we move forward.
- E-mail is a silo. In mobile e-mail on iPads or smartphones, there is no simple way to flag something. If you read it and it is interesting to you, unlike your desktop where you can flag it or store it somewhere, it either needs to be moved to a folder or left in the inbox. This means if someone is reading an e-mail in a doctor’s office about a great sale, has to close it to see the doctor, and then opens it hours later, is that e-mail message still top of their mind?
- If you don’t fully execute the action immediately, you probably won’t. You get an e-mail on the go, you read it, you click the link, your bus comes, and you didn’t get to buy the item you saw. Chances are that browser will be closed or replaced with the next link. This means opportunities to purchase are reduced.
- Attachments are not a good idea. With the different devices and different access to document support, you never know what people will be able to read. It’s best to steer clear of them.
- Flash probably isn’t a great idea either. See above. If you want to ensure your e-mail message is readable and actionable, you should stick to HTML and, scary as it is, probably an animated gif.
We have a whole new world of e-mail opportunities ahead of us as, where more and more people will be able to access e-mail whenever and wherever they are. But we all need to be smart about it, and figure out how to master the implications that mobility serves up. Good luck!
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