Latest Writing & Things of Interest

April 6, 2018

Email Takes Resilience

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Dealing with email clients—their rendering engines conspiring to ruin your day, week, and year. New ones pop up all the time, while old ones stick around way past their welcome.

Email takes resilience.

In the face of other channels, striving to dethrone email, the still powerful queen. Ignore the pundits, who—annually—proclaim the death of email. To those who say that email is only for spam, we know that email can make a difference.

Email takes belief.

Uncaring stakeholders looking for a quick buck. They rent lists, they buy them, they blast everyone to hell. We hold their hands, educate, and show them a better way—even when we’re intimidated or shot down. We stick to it.

Email takes grit.

Underfunded, understaffed. Ignored, ridiculed, and left to languish in a lonely cubicle. The people in the weeds know what email can do. They give it their all, even when others care far too little.

Email takes heart.

Explaining to our parents that we’re not spammers. Explaining to our bosses that mistakes happen. Explaining to our developers that you can’t do it that way. Explaining to each other what worked and what didn’t.

Email takes patience.

Dealing with it all, not letting it get us down. Understanding the craft, the skill, and the art in email. Exploring what’s possible and showing others the way.

Email takes resilience.

April 5, 2018

Link: Why We Introduced a Code of Conduct at Litmus Live

This is the first year we’ve had a code of conduct at Litmus Live. Although I’m sad that it’s taken us so long to adopt one, I’m terribly proud of the fact that we have one this year. Over on the Litmus blog, I wrote about why we crafted the code of conduct, what’s in it, and how it’s going to help an already welcoming and inclusive community event.

I still have some concerns about the policy, but I think we did a good job. I may publish something soon about the experience of writing the code of conduct, but until then…

Check it out →
April 3, 2018

Link: Why are we sending editorial newsletters with marketing tools?

A really interesting question from Ernie Smith. I’ve often wondered why there aren’t more alternatives to TinyLetter. Or why TinyLetter wasn’t any better than it has been for the past X years. I know it comes down to money (companies like MailChimp go where the money is, which is currently marketing automation), but it seems like an editorial channel as valuable as email would warrant investment in better tools.

I’d love to see someone tackle this problem. A Ghost or WordPress for email sounds thoroughly intriguing. I know there’s TinyLetter and stuff like Curated, but don’t think these take things far enough. In the case of TinyLetter, it’s just a huge pain to use from a design perspective. Curated and its ilk have better designs, but lock you into a specific format (link roundups). Just think of the possibilities if we had an email-centric tool that allowed you to easily write, manage, edit, and publish editorial content of any length, along with doing it in a well-designed template with options for customization and branding.

Something for the ideas book. Maybe I’ll build something one of these days…

Check it out →
March 28, 2018

Link: System Fonts in CSS

Great little history of such a wonderful technique. For those of you keeping track, here’s the latest way to get system fonts working in your CSS:

font-family: system-ui, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "Segoe UI",
    "Roboto", "Oxygen", "Ubuntu", "Cantarell", "Fira Sans",
    "Droid Sans", "Helvetica Neue", sans-serif;
Check it out →
March 27, 2018

Link: Increasing Diversity at Your Conference

Some amazing tips from Ashe Dryden about creating more inclusive, diverse conferences. I know we’re not doing all of these things at our conference, but I do feel good about the fact that we’re getting closer each year. This is the first time we’ve included a code of conduct (more on that soon) and most of these things are on the top of our minds.

Check it out →
March 23, 2018

Link: The Ultimate Guide to Background Images in Email

For all you email geeks out there, I just published an in-depth look into using background images in HTML email campaigns. There’s a surprising amount that goes into effective background images—from design to code—and this guide tackles just about everything.

Check it out →
March 23, 2018

Link: Apple Proposes New Accessibility Emoji

This is really cool. Apple just proposed an addition to the Unicode Consortium that would include accessibility emoji, representing common disabilities. They worked with the American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the National Association of the Deaf. From their proposal:

One in seven people around the world has some form of disability, whether that be a physical disability involving vision, hearing, or loss of physical motor skills, or a more hidden, invisible disability. The current selection of emoji provides a wide array of representations of people, activities, and objects meaningful to the general public, but very few speak to the life experiences of those with disabilities.

It’s awesome seeing a company like Apple work towards better representation in something so widely used as emoji. I can’t imagine this would be blocked, so hopefully we’ll see these in production in the next year or so.

Check it out →