5 Trends to Optimize Your User Centric Email Design Strategy

By Kara Degeorgis


Above all else, making your emails user centric is key.  Of course, the more access consumers have to information, the more important it is to deliver content that they want and need.  

Although many might not consider email marketing trendy, those that pay close attention know that user centric email design is the best way to increase engagement.  Moreover, there is an combination of past, present and future best practices. All of which are pressuring email marketers to adapt. 

For this reason, marketing teams must maintain a keen eye on what trends are passé, fleeting or here to stay. 

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The current market is cluttered with emerging trends and clouded by outdated and exploratory best practices

Notably, one constant truth stands out as a guiding light for marketing teams. Consumers want content when, where, and how they want it.
With this in mind, the best way to ensure that you are reaching your audience is to focus on creating user centric email designs. Emails that not only engage but intrigue your audience. 
 As a team that is dedicated to breaking the boundaries of digital marketing capabilities, it is our goal to stay ahead of the trends. But, helping to shape and mold the industry best practices is not enough.
To that end, it is our mission to educated the market. So today, we will highlight 5 trends that are changing the user centric email game.  All of which, will ensure your email marketing efforts are the picture perfect example of user centric email design. 
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How Are Industry Trends and Pressures Influencing Email Marketers Today?

Technology is at the root of all current trends we are seeing in email marketing today. In fact, these trends serve as a catalyst for the evolution of technology. Which have a direct impact on the constant connection we all have because of it. 

For this reason, marketing teams everywhere are looking for new ways to increase engagement rates. 

Fighting against the vast sea of emails that hit our inboxes daily. In addition, marketers are also striving to make their emails more easily accessible and understandable to all readers. 

As we begin a new decade, we are seeing marketing trends shift sharply towards fully optimized user centric email design. Making emails more accessible and more interactive to increase engagement is more important than ever before.

Namely comprised of simplified elements infused with user-generated and hyper-personalized content. And of course, fully compliant with new emerging email regulations. This new generation of user centric email design is changing the marketing game as we know it.

And all of these trends are a vital part of this evolution. Ensuring that users around the world can be better connected.  Creating a personalized journey experience that guides them from prospect to client.

Here Are 5 Trends You Must Implement to Optimize Your User Centric Email Strategy


Mockup Making

Create foolproof emails that can provide a universal, positive user experience.

Email for Everyone

Accessibility in terms of email marketing has become a popular topic. Especially as smart devices have become more commonplace. Primarily, accessibility refers to the practices of designing your email content for universal comprehension.

Meaning everyone, especially those with disabilities, can easily access understand and interact with your emails. In other words, assistive devices for those that are impaired need to be able to navigate and relay your email content.
In fact, doing so will increase accessibility for nearly 1 billion people living with disabilities. But implementing email accessibility best practices is not exclusively done for disabled users. 

In reality, optimized accessibility is beneficial for all users

Mainly because it means developing content that is readable, logical, concise and usable for everyone. The basis for all user centric content.
As a result, employing these best practices will increase your open and engagement rates substantially. 

Best Practices for Accessibility

  1. ​Use descriptive subject lines
  2. Create and maintain logical structure
  3. Use shorter sentences for scanability
  4. Limit jargon and complex words
  5. Utilize a strong visual hierarchy
  6. Use proper alt text for all images
  7. Include a plain text version of the email copy
  8. Optimize HTML with real text
  9. Add hover effects to indicate clickability
  10. Add role=”presentation” to your tags



Utilize unique elements of brand identify to convey a story from start to finish

Bring Your Brand to Life

Custom illustrations are a key driver for brands to build a unique visual identity. One that sets them apart from the rest of the market. Illustrations can add a playful touch to your email designs while embracing your brand’s values.

They are cost effective, easily adaptable and can be utilized more than once, across various formats channels and marketing objectives.

Best Practices for Illustration

  1. Ensure that illustrations fit within your current branding
  2. Develop a reusable library of illustrated elements to create efficient workflows
  3. Use custom illustrations when you do not have a budget for stock photography
  4. Integrate illustrations throughout your design to guide the reader’s eyes and provide a visual aid to storytelling
  5. Allow illustrations to blend in with the body of your content, instead of interrupting the flow of your email


Dark Mode

Adapt to the growing presence of subscribers that utilize dark mode on their OS

Welcome to the Dark Side

If you think Dark Mode is a temporary fad, you are sorely mistaken. Dark Mode enhances accessibility by displaying content using dark background colors and light text. Moreover this high contrast reduces eye strain by minimizing blue light and providing readability. 

Not only is Dark Mode easier on the eyes, but it also saves battery life. Not to mention it creates an overall better user experience. 


Dark Mode reduces brightness for those who spend most of their day looking at a screen, or for those who may be using their device in the evening. 

Best Practices for Dark Mode

  1. Utilize background colors as a way to safely navigate dark mode
  2. Understand that white space doesn’t have to be ‘white’
  3. Use lighter and darker greys, instead of black and white, so the high contrast is not damaging to the eyes
  4. Target Dark Mode users by using media queries
  5. Test your design in both light and dark email environments
  6. Use transparent PNGs that can adapt to either scenario



Experiment with interactive elements that can adapt to any email provider

Getting Down with Interactivity

Recently, marketing teams have taken hyper-personalization one step further. Implementing top notch content interactivity via the creation of kinetic emails. To clarify, kinetic emails are marketing messages infused with interactive elements. 

Taking contextual marketing one step further into the user centric realm, kinetic emails actually mimic a website interface.  These interactive elements facilitate user engagement throughout an array of interaction opportunities. 

Kinetic emails create rich visual experiences for users. Ones that can express the voice of a brand better than ever before.

In addition, adopting interactivity into an email strategy allows marketing teams to do more with their emails. Without increasing word counts. By providing a full brand experience entirely inside the inbox. 


Best Practices for Interactivity

  1. 70% of email clients support interactivity, but all ways a fallback in place
  2. Use a hide and show framework to implement interactive elements with fallbacks
  3. Use an externally-linked CSS file instead of one that is embedded or inline
  4. Start with some simple hover effects on links buttons, and imagery
  5. Gather feedback through simple survey implementations



Capture and utilize data to provide a more user centric, tailored experience

Let's Make It Personal

Creating emails based around personalization and user-generated content has been at the forefront of user centric email best practices for the past few years. 

Marketing capabilities and utilization of user data have evolved. And so has the depth as which marketers can serve up personalized content. 
As a matter of fact, the more tailored the user content, the higher the rate of engagement. Couple hyper-personalization with user-generated content, in the form of surveys  feedback, etc., and you have a winning customer engagement strategy. 
Email Personalizaton Example

Best Practices for Personalization

  1. Evaluate each content section to see how personalization fits in
  2. Create intuitive reports that tailor to a user’s journey
  3. Provide unique offers based on customer engagement
  4. Convert customer data into what will be useful and relevant to subscribers
  5. Segment your audience and focus on their behavior
  6. Leverage dynamic content

Whew! That was a lot to cover!

But there you have it…

5 email marketing trends that you should be implementing if you want to optimize your user centric email design strategy.

A few of which you have surely heard about and some which might be new to you.

All of which are proving to be essential in cracking the code of the successful email marketing strategy.

Above all else, making your emails user centric is key.  Of course, the more access consumers have to information, the more important it is to deliver content that they want and need.  
We know that implementing all of these into your marketing strategy may seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.  If you are struggling to wrap your head around these trends, or if you simply need some help with implementation, don’t worry. There are partners who are well versed in the art of email design and strategy ready and waiting to help you.

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