The term WYSIWYG can be misleading. The acronym stands for “What You See is What You Get” and refers to an editing system in which the text and graphics displayed during the design process are the same as the appearance of the finished product.
Unfortunately, what you see is often not always what you get. Problems arise when email designers or marketers believe they have the ability to directly manipulate an email’s layout without any HTML knowledge and layout commands. For more information on HTML Emails, check out SalesFUSION’s Kellie Boggs’s (Director of Services) post.
So, let’s not even call it a WYSIWYG editor anymore – banish the term from your vocabulary! Instead, think of these programs as HTML designers. You are building HTML from a design page, not writing raw code, but you still might have to make minor tweaks to ensure correct font size, alignment, or colors.
To avoid the frustration that comes when your content doesn’t render perfectly, take the time to learn about the problems that may arise and, more importantly, learn some basic HTML design knowledge.
When creating and editing an email campaign using an HTML designer,take a deep breath and remind yourself:
- Email clients are their own species and interpret content differently.
- There are dozens of email clients to consider, Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo to name a few, that render emails differently.
- They may even default to their own primary settings for font, size, or color if not cited in the design – be sure to specify your own fonts, sizes and colors inside the HTML code.
- Email programs are also their own species and interpret content differently.
- Web, PC, and Mac-based programs, just like email clients, have defaulted settings for reading emails.
- As the email campaigner’s creator, you want emails to be as consistent as possible across multiple applications.
- Recipients have varied user settingsacross their computer and email service.
- Everything from resolution, font size and display view, can be edited at the user level based on his or her preferences.
- If a user’s settings are so specific that your content renders differently, then consider your design as just a suggestion for viewing
There is no perfect designer. HTML is finicky at best, so gain some basic design and editing knowledge online. Try http://www.w3schools.com/html/ or http://www.htmlgoodies.com/. When testing and previewing your email campaigns, focus on:
- Where the fold exists – Email readers want to scroll as little as possible, so make sure that your most important action items sit high enough to be read without scrolling.
- Image size – Does your company logo, banner, or call to action image maintain the same proportions throughout different email clients?
- Call to action locations – As mentioned previously, at least one should sit above the fold at the top of your email. Others can sit in the email’s body text or along the sidebars.
- Creating plain text emails – If one of your calls to action is an image, be sure to create a text version for your plain text email. It is best to consider all images blocked by default.
Remember, we live in a customizable digital world. One email recipient will open and click your email on their 30 inch monitor, while another will read it on their iPhone from the back of a cab. While their interactions will your message will be different, we want to make sure that the message is the same. No design matters more than content.