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    It’s time for mobile-first email design

    by James Holloway Partnership Director

    Smartphone penetration in the UK currently stands at around 75% and this is expected to grow to 80% by 2022. With the rise in smartphone use naturally comes more people using smartphones to read their emails. Currently, 67% of people use smartphones to check email, and 40% claim that their mobile is their primary device for doing so. Here we will outline some of the core reasons that you should opt for a mobile-first email design and discuss how to get it right.


    There are more opens on mobile

    It’s no secret that today’s consumers are glued to their phones, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that mobile users check their email 3x more than desktop users

    Emails are now opened more on mobile than on desktop, with mobile now being responsible for at least half of all opens. Mobile email opens are higher among younger users than their older counterparts and, with there now being digital natives living among us, this figure is expected to continue to rise.

    You can easily check your own device statistics on your email campaign platform.

    Bad mobile experience will cost you business

    52% of people are less likely to engage with a company because of a poor mobile experience, this can include any email that is opened on mobile but not formatted correctly (e.g. oversized/misplaced images, too much or too large text).



    All images need to scale correctly. Bear in mind that an image that may look amazing on a desktop could be shrunk too small to see any detail on a mobile. Some mobile software block images by default and prompt users to turn them on so use images carefully and sparingly and balance them well with plenty of text.

    Bear in mind that a lot of mobile users will be relying on data rather than WiFi, so consider how much would be required to download your email. Be selective over what you include, use small images (but not too small).


    Designing email mobile-first forces you to immediately consider the much smaller screen size. Enlarge your fonts so that the text is easily readable on small mobile screens. Be concise with the content that you include and ensure that it is all relevant information.

    Keeping the layout simple is vital for mobile-first design, stick to one column and display your content in a linear fashion. Increase the line spacing and white space to make your email easy for readers to scan. Increase the padding around text, images and buttons.


    Half of those on mobile spend below 3 seconds reading each email so you need to direct them to your call to action quickly. Minimise the amount of necessary scrolling that the user has to do. They should be able to reach a clear call to action that is easy to tap on without having to scroll a lot. Buttons need to be easily visible and large enough to be easily tapped by thumbs and fingers without needing to zoom.


    Mobile users have more flexibility over when they can check their emails than desktop users and 75% of them check their inbox multiple times per day. That being said, over half of all emails are opened during standard 9-5 work hours, peaking around mid-afternoon.

    Don’t forget the preview text…

    Preview text is more prominent on mobile email inboxes and is almost as important as your subject line. Don’t undervalue its power as a determiner of whether someone decides to open your email.

    So now you have some top tips for mobile-first email design, what are you waiting for?

    Need help with your email development? Gooey are a white label web and email development agency based in Manchester, UK and are happy to work on projects of any size/budget.