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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Email designs are neglecting the needs of Boomers

An article in Mediapost discusses this issue.

To help address this issue, the author of the article has created the Boomer Legibility Initiative for a New Decade (BLIND) group on Linkedin to convince marketers to increase the point size of their fonts by 1 point this year, in 2015, and in 2020. What a sweet idea.

The author says the font size problem is worse with the administrative text at the bottom of emails. 64% of retailers use an 8-point font size or smaller for their admin text, which includes critical information such as unsubscribe and "change your address" links. For retailers, this fine print often includes sale exclusions.

In addition to making fonts larger, the article talks about the other things that could be improved with the use of text.
1. Reverse type, where there's white/light text on black/dark background.
2. Low-contrast text, where text and background colours are very close in value to each other.
3. Text over background images with lots of bright and dark areas.
4. Full caps, which are not only considered shouting, but are harder to read than sentence case, where you capitalize the first word of a sentence and any proper nouns.

I cannot argue with any of these points.

My only word of caution is that marketers can equate ageing to “making the font bigger”. The week before last I presented to a group of marketers from a seriously large company. If I told you any more you would know the company's name.

I concluded by talking about the issues of physiological ageing and how it impacts all of the customer touch points. After a bit of debate, the head honcho concluded by saying: “well I guess we could increase the font on our packaging but since nobody reads it I cannot see the point.” Some people just don’t get it. Dick Stroud

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