Since then, we’ve conducted six large scale studies on newsletter and marketing email usability in our most recent research. We found that newsletter recipients are very much aware of that overall feeling they get from a newsletter and the way that content is presented.
So recipients strongly favored clean, orderly and simple newsletters with brief and very straightforward content that provided immediate utility. In short, they just wanted newsletters to be visually straightforward and get to the punch line quickly. In contrast, they were generally very critical of messages that felt too busy or overwhelming or seemingly full of competing content. Many users often use the word cluttered to describe the feeling they got from these types of messages. We analyzed messages that users liked and those that they disliked or considered cluttered. And we’ve come up with three tips for cluttering your newsletters. First, be cautious of multi column layouts. Emails with multiple columns were often considered cluttered because the information was at a very high density on their screen. Watch of the web has started to move toward single column layouts and a lot of newsletters have followed suit. So this tends to create newsletters that are more easily consumable and scannable for people, especially on a mobile device, which is where a lot of our users are viewing these messages. Second, invest in large, high quality imagery with a clear point of focus, small or thumbnail sized images added to the recipient’s perception of clutter.
This was often the case with multi column layouts where the images were paired with corresponding text. Some users also considered these smaller images to look dated, and they strongly preferred those full width, relevant photos where they could really clearly see the details and extract information from them. Third, adhere to readability principles for writing on the Web. Recipients considered a message cluttered if it was difficult to scan and read. So if a message included too many colors or font variations, that message appeared really overwhelming and it was hard for people to skim. So Newsletter’s should use a clear typographic hierarchy with very scannable headlines and underlying body text that has high contrast and readable font sizes. So take a look at your newsletters and marketing emails. Are there opportunities to simplify and win over your mailing list?