我们开始了researching newsletters in 2002。从那时起，我们对通讯和营销电子邮件可用性进行了六项大规模研究。我们最近的研究涉及一个日记研究在2个国家（美国和西班牙）有9名参与者，usability testingwith 28 participants from 2 countries (U.S. and Canada). We focused on the subscribe and unsubscribe processes, as well as on receiving, opening, and reading commercial email messages.
Fewer formal subscriptions -消息letter-subscription processes of the past were often very involved — perhaps because inboxes and newsletters were quite different in many ways. People had to deal with email-management issues, spam, and slow internet speeds, so subscribing to a newsletter used to be a substantial commitment and reflected a deliberate choice to create a dedicated relationship with organizations. Subscription forms were often lengthy and the detail regarding the content and delivery schedule of a newsletter was robust. Users expected this level of information to understand the commitment made by agreeing to receive messages from an organization.
因为多年来，这些限制已经过了一些，但用户对订阅的许多问题已经消失了。此外，用户的心态随着时间的推移而变化。The increase in sheer email volume over the years has created a scenario where people can’t possibly give all messages their full attention, so they care less about what they receive because they know they can easily ignore the noise or choose what they invest their time in. For these reasons, users now value low-effort and efficient signup over detailed explanations and processes. Subscription forms on websites have become shorter and are often embedded into the footer or into other transactions. This is not to say that users do not appreciate some critical details about newsletters before subscribing to them. It is still good practice to communicate the basics about the subscription at the time of sign up, to set expectations and help customers feel informed.
Evolution of spam -垃圾邮件曾经是用户和时事通讯发表者的巨大关注。用户希望避免垃圾邮件，并对新闻通讯注册持谨慎态度，因为担心他们的电子邮件地址将共享，导致未经请求的消息。出版商正在努力确保他们的合法通讯不会被标记为收件人收件箱中的垃圾邮件。现在，用户不担心他们习惯的方式垃圾邮件。垃圾邮件阻止工具在识别和过滤垃圾邮件时已经更好地更好地过滤垃圾邮件，并优先电子邮件收件箱有助于为用户组织邮件。事实上，“垃圾邮件”一词背后的含义也随着时间的推移而变化。它不再严格使用来描述未经请求的电子邮件。我们研究中的参与者使用了“垃圾邮件”这个词来描述他们认为随机，非人格，无关紧要的招揽营销电子邮件，具有太多的促销炒作，或者以大容量升值。
我们的日记研究中的一个用户从AT＆T接收了一款与读取的主题行的时事通讯，“史蒂文的消息”。当他打开电子邮件时，唯一提供的是一个有一条消息的礼品袋的动画形象，Mystery Flash Sale，加上专用优惠为DirectTV客户。Hint: It’s a really big deal along with a link labeled Learn More.收件人说：“主题线引起了我的注意，但内部原来只是垃圾邮件。这只是一个巨大的摇袋，“神秘闪发”。它脱离了如此垃圾和不吸引人。为什么我会点击？没有任何引人注目的“神秘意外”。他们只是想卖给我一些东西，就像对我的好处一样着装。我宁愿他们只是告诉我他们卖的是什么，而且交易是什么而不是玩游戏。“
Another user who received a message from a restaurant-group supper club about an upcoming event said, “So I signed up for this newsletter but I feel this isn't relevant to me and slightly spammy. I mean, I guess I should have expected this but I don't know who this chef is or have any relation to this random event. It feels impersonal, that’s what annoying. It’s not relevant and [is] therefore spam to me.”
“It’s spam to me”is the operative term in this user quote. Spam is in the eye of the beholder (i.e., recipient).
In our research, many users disliked information that was not tailored or specific to their interests. Many times, these types of messages were considered spam and this attitude illustrates the increasing importance of personalization in marketing emails and newsletters.
Emotional connections and demand for personalization -In our first several rounds of research, one of the most significant findings was that users had emotional reactions to newsletters. The effort and commitment involved in subscribing to a newsletter created an emotional connection to that newsletter that also formed a bond between the user and the company. The messages felt personal because they arrived in users’ inboxes, and users had an ongoing relationship with them. The negative aspect to this connection was that newsletter-related problems had a strong impact on the organization’sbrand。
In recent research, we’ve seen that the emotional connection to newsletters has lessened — in fact users seem to have grown numb to the content that shows up in their inbox. People receive so much email that they can’t care strongly about all of it.
Although there may be select newsletters that users feel strongly about, the overall feeling of attachment to newsletters has faded. Organizations must work hard to stick out from the crowd, and the challenge becomes standing out without sacrificing usability.
消息letters that delivered highly personalized and relevant content at the right time received the most positive emotional responses from recipients. Digital capabilities forpersonalized content and experienceshave become robust over recent years and users have become conditioned to expect a high level of relevance from marketing messages. Recipients want organizations to use known information about them to deliver valuable and relevant content in their newsletters and marketing messages. As discussed, many of those messages who did not do so were considered spam.
When users complained about the relevance of the email, half said they intended to unsubscribe, while the other half said they would continue to receive the messages, but ignore them or delete them. In reality, most people choose to ignore the emails in the future, rather than making the effort to unsubscribe.
Personalization and providing relevant experiences are already on the horizon as the next big competitive requirement for UX and customer experience. Organizations must invest in learning how to identify customers and use the data they have about them to predict their information needs. The result will be better customer experiences, engagement, and loyalty — due in part to personal, targeted, and timely newsletters and marketing messages.
Fewer concerns about unsubscribing -消息letter recipients used to have difficulty when trying to leave a mailing list. Every organization had its own unsubscribe process and it was often a time-consuming task. Now that organizations are required to include an取消订阅link in their newsletters, this task has become easier.
虽然不太关注努力再保险quired to unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters, users don’t always do so. Users have created systems to filter their messages across accounts and across folders to limit the impact on their inboxes, so many messages will never even be seen. People also find it easy to simply ignore or delete unwanted messages. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that mailing-list owners shouldn’t assume that all subscribers actually want to receive their newsletters. Many users might have simply neglected to unsubscribe.
Some newsletters deliberately make it difficult to unsubscribe by hiding the instructions or making them overly complex. The motive is probably to retain as many subscribers as possible in order to maximize the reach of permission-marketing programs. In reality, you don’t have users’ “permission” once they stop wanting the newsletter, regardless of whether they jump through the hoops required to get off the list. If users keep getting unwanted newsletters, the messages will start to backfire and become regular reminders that they’re annoyed with your company. Better to let them go.
Changing layouts -当我们开始学习新闻通讯时，一切都是为桌面屏幕设计的。新闻稿布局是为大型屏幕而设计的，滚动有限。多列布局是常见的，这意味着内容水平密集，信息短。当现代移动设备出现时，这些布局变得有问题。2012年，我们仍然找到了significant mobile-usability issues由这些多彩布局引起的。
有趣的是,许多多列通讯on large monitors now seemed overly complex to users (even if the template appropriately rescales on mobile). Single-column webpages and email designs with full-width imagery, lower-content density, and more scrolling have become commonplace in recent years, and it seems that users have become accustomed to seeing these designs. Single-column layouts show fewer items in the viewport at one time, making the emails feel clean and streamlined. Multicolumn layouts result in smaller images and narrower columns of text. Users often perceived multicolumn newsletter designs as overwhelming and cluttered.
（用户是在小型手机上阅读困难内容时慢screens, but we wouldn’t recommend publishing super-complicated material in an email in the first place.)
The use of imagery on the web in general has changed over recent years, as many websites use imagery as a key component in their designs, rather than a secondary element. For instance, sites might use a large high-resolution photograph at the top of the page or use full-width imagery throughout the site. (However, this trend does not always result inusable designs。) The same is true for email newsletters. Although imagery has always had its place in email communication, today’s marketing emails use graphics and imagery as a major fixture.
Although not new to the web, animated gifs have reemerged as a useful tool to make our digital communications more expressive. It’s no surprise that organizations have begun using animated gifs in thoughtful ways in their newsletters, to add to the value delivered through a traditionally static channel. These animated images not only provide an emotive element, but they can also show products in use and provide supplemental information.
更大的文件和更快的下载 -One downside of these highly visual newsletter-design trends is the larger size of the newsletters and the amount of data required by recipients to download them. When dialup internet was still the primary means of accessing the web, speed and file size were a big concern to internet users and newsletter subscribers. Organizations have become better at limiting file sizes and network speeds have increased, so these issues were much less of a concern in the recent years. However, with the growth of mobile connectivity, a new emphasis is being placed on file size: many users have topay for the amount of data they consume，加上下载速度可能会在连接不良的地区受到影响。因此，我们仍然必须了解新闻通讯的下载时间以及通过移动网络传输的数据量。
电子邮件Rules for Customer Relationship Maintenance
电子邮件is the oldest media form on the internet, being invented in 1972 before many of our readers were even born. But email is holding up swimmingly in competition with toddler-aged internet media forms like Snapchat. Our research participants still appreciate good emails and read them. So if your brand can deliver relevant and interesting emails, this aging media form is still a superb way to stay in touch with your customers.
The full report onemail marketing and newsletter usabilitywith 199 design guidelines for email user experience design is available for download.