In their fantastic (but lengthy) report, The 2019 State of Email, Litmus Software gives a comprehensive look at significant developments affecting email programs.
A big takeaway?
It’s time to change your association emails and make them more voice-friendly. Why now? Because 39 million Americans now own a smart speaker; people are using those virtual assistants to check their email with voice commands.
In December 2018, Amazon updated its Alexa voice assistant, giving it the skill to read, reply, archive, or delete emails.
Right now, it’s compatible with Gmail and Outlook. In January 2019, 27% of emails were opened in Gmail and 8% in Outlook. So, combined, these two platforms account for over 1/3 of email usage.
Alexa will read the sender name, subject line, and text. It can read emojis but will ignore images and certain HTML attributes.
Alexa will ignore your images (and the alt text you use to describe them), the same way that readers won’t see that information in emails viewed with images off. So if you still put key information inside images, stop. Use images to enhance your message but put important information in message text.
Choose emojis carefully or avoid them altogether. Before using them, consider emojis whose names will be startling when read out loud and out of context, especially in the subject line and preview text.
Use proper semantic elements in your email, especially for text. Don’t just rely on text. Use headings (h) and paragraphs (p) appropriately.
(What are semantic elements? They’re attributes used in HTML code to give meaning to content on the web which better enables computers and people to work in cooperation.)
“Adapting your email program to respond to these changes is no longer something you can put on your to-do list as chores to be tackled later.” -Litmus