We all know that Norman’s seven principles of design are not limited to doors or websites. These factors can be found in every aspect of our world. But more than ever, it is important to identify where these principles are at play in every aspect of our marketing.
Sometimes, the difficulty is not necessarily identifying where a principal is missing, but rather where to look for the issues to begin with.
This post will specifically focus on where to look in your email channel.
Email marketing is a key component for many companies, but it can also be a difficult landscape to navigate. I’ve broken down where each principle is likely to be a source of issue for your email program below:
- Visibility: When it comes to email providers such as Gmail and Yahoo, many of them clip lengthy email messages. If you want your information to be visible, it is important to keep the length of your email short and your message concise. Just like with a newspaper, it is crucial to put your most prominent information “above the fold” so it doesn’t get lost.
- Feedback: There is nothing more frustrating on an email than a button that does not click. But sometimes it isn’t always buttons. Look out for bolded or underlined words in your text. If something can be assumed to be clickable, make sure it is. If it is not something you want to link, make sure you scale back the design so it blends more. And always ALWAYS make large images clickable- it has become instinct for subscribers to want to click the largest area possible to get to the landing page.
- Constraints: This is tricky to conceptualize in email, so in order to understand why constraints are important, it is crucial to understand what the purpose of email is from a functionality perspective. Emails, specifically marketing emails, are simply a launch pad. You do not want to give your subscribers all the information up front. An email should be the assisting channel that gets them to the landing page. When it comes to constraint, it is important to restrict the amount of information you are putting on an email. Some things are important upfront, but the rest belongs on the landing page. If you don’t incentivize people to click through by being enticing, they won’t.
- Mapping: When designing emails, having a consistent setup will help your users understand the mapping overtime. This means that the relationships between the elements of the email should be clear to the user. Having a standard menu and footer on emails with buttons in the middle lead the user through the email with the knowledge of the head they have developed or will develop over time.
- Consistency: This is key in design for usability, but also it is incredibly important for when you end up in the inbox. Sending too many or too few emails can be detrimental. What is important is to find the balance that works best for your users that they see your emails often enough to continue engagement, while also having the chance to build a positive reputation in their minds when they see your from name.
- Affordance: In a perfect world, every aspect of your email should be an affordance. From the subject line to the imagery to the buttons, your users should know how to interact with your emails. This relies on outlying factors (such as keeping up with trends of how emails look today) as well as internal factors (the image has clicked through before, so they understand it should always be clickable).
So dive into your email marketing and look for the things that could be pain points for your users. It’s already hard enough making sure your emails end up in the inbox, so don’t make it a struggle for your subscribers once they get it.