Thursday, April 26, 2012 2:30 PM
|What is a side-scrolling email? As the name might imply, this format is a horizontally designed email that requires the user to scroll sideways to view more content as opposed to scrolling down.
image source: 4.10.11 Saks Fifth Avenue screenshots at stylecampaign.com
Why we like them
Want to jazz your email up a bit? A side-scrolling email is the perfect way to do that. Many people have never seen it before, compelling them to look because of the novelty factor (at least the first time you try the design). This means that your email will stand out in the inbox.
The most important rule in designing side-scrolling emails is give users incentive to scroll. What’s on the right-hand side of the screen? Is your customer interested enough to find out? Try pointing to that side with an appropriate arrow or phrase, or have an interesting image trail off just out of their line of sight. Chances are, they’ll be compelled to scroll in order to view the rest of it.
Keep accessibility in mind, however, and don’t make your email too wide. The maximum horizontal scroll in Outlook 2007 is 2110 pixels, so many brands keep their emails at or below that number. Height won’t matter as much, but be aware that a longer email will require both left-to-right and top-to-bottom scrolling, which may annoy customers. In addition, keep the preview pane in mind, and include the call to action on the left hand side in case people forget to scroll.
What to watch out for
Cutting-edge and outside-the-box designs like this often seem like they should come with a sign: warning - subject to overuse! As with many unique and creative design ideas, a side-scrolling email is one of those things best used in moderation. While it may capture interest the first, second, or even third time this type of email shows up in customers’ inboxes, by the time the fourth one rolls around, customers may find themselves fatigued with the design and no longer inclined to scroll. If your call to action requires that scroll, this fatigue could be the death knell for your campaign. Make sure to capture (and hold) their attention by using this design sparingly, and with multiple ‘standard’ email formats in the time between.
The moral of the story is to proceed with caution. As with any type of marketing, it is good to shake things up sometimes. A side-scrolling email may do just that, waking your users up and compelling them to take action. Just don’t overdo it or you may end up turning users away.
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