This year, Selligent brought special guests to the Litmus Email Design Conference 2015 in London: the winner of our ticket contest and a guest. We had a blast with Monique and Kevin!
After taking the Eurostar to St Pancras and seeing the sights of London, we were ready for the first day of the conference.
Day One: At the opening creative workshop, Kevin Mandevil (Email Designer & Developer at Litmus) gave a presentation on Contextually aware webdesign, where the key quote was “Context is more than just screen size.” Dynamic content in email is possible—we can show it in emails based on location, weather, time, or personal info. (These are things that we at Selligent are already doing.) Kevin offered some creative examples of dynamic content, including interactive carousels, HTML5 videos as an email’s background, a live Twitter feed in an email—even a golden ticket to search for.
A number of speakers then gave us a sneak peek at their upcoming presentations:
- Fabio Carneiro spoke about creating responsive emails for clients (Outlook and Gmail) that don’t use media queries.
- Alex Ilhan showed us some cool CSS animations used in emails.
- Mark Robbins gave us some amazing new ideas for interactive emails. He created his presentation as an email–an email that featured a fully functional whack-a-mole game!
Most of this cool stuff can currently be only be done in WebKit email clients (like Apple mail & iOS). Gmail has limited possibilities, so building fallbacks for these features are required.
Paul Airy talked to us about how to increase email accessibility through the creative use of typography. We can’t think only about design, he says; we must also use the correct fonts, font heights and weights.
The closing presentation of the first day was “showing off,” but in a good way. As mentioned above, Mark Robbins gave his entire presentation not in a slide deck, but as an email. You’d be amazed what’s possible in WebKit emails by using hidden radio buttons; Mark showed us that it’s possible to play a game like whack-a-mole or to finish and pay your unfinished orders in an abandoned basket mail. At the moment, it’s going to be tough to implement such things in emails and stay within a customer-friendly budget, but who knows what will be possible in the future?
Day Two: Alex Timlin started off, reminding us that we need to keep emails personal. When working with Big Data, it’s important to create campaigns that stand out. This can be achieved by blending data and creativity into a great campaign that will leave an impression.
Elliot Ross and Jaina Mistry talked about how important it is to localize your campaigns. Not only should we pay attention to the copy and translations, we also need to be sensitive to cultural differences, currencies, dates and times for individual regions/countries.
Alex Ilhan showed us some amazing tools and tips for optimizing coding. By using great tools like Sublime Text, integrated with Emmett, you can quickly code emails with the snippets you’ve predefined.
Alan O’Rourke reminded us of the importance of contacting users with specific targeting right after they’ve signed up. This doesn’t mean that you should spam them, but send clever and eye-catching campaigns that stand out.
Next up was Kevin Mandeville, who did a live coding of an email within less than two (!!!) minutes. He did it in the newly designed Litmus Builder, and by using clever snippets. By defining snippets for default content blocks you’ll reuse each time, you can save a lot of time—and you’ll be able to code a lot more quickly, as Kevin demonstrated.
Fabio Carneiro explained how to work around the flaws of each email client, and how to code responsive emails without using media queries, using the Hybrid Coding approach (or Spongy Development as he likes to call it) and Pattern-based Design/Atomic Design.
Parry Malm ended the conference with perhaps the most important questions of all: Did you pay attention and spend time on your subject line? What’s the use of having the most beautiful, fully responsive and cleverly animated email when only a few people read it because the subject line sucks?
Apart from these sessions, we also had the chance to receive a professional headshot, get a sneak preview of the latest release of Litmus (which looks awesome) and get our hands on some free t-shirts (whoooo, free t-shirts!).
Looking forward to #TEDC16!