Ex change

net magazine - - CONTENTS -

Sarah Richards and Rob Pel­low share their ex­pert ad­vice, tips and tricks

Zara Gem­mell, Not­ting­ham

SR: Video or face-to-face. Some think dig­i­tal is all there is. We com­mu­ni­cated pretty well be­fore the in­ter­net! Al­ways go to your au­di­ence.

Cit­i­zens Ad­vice has a team in Sh­effield that is just for BSL users. The ad­vi­sors are in­cred­i­ble. Many BSL users don’t read English. Many or­gan­i­sa­tions think every­one who is pro­foundly deaf can read English. That’s sim­ply not the case.

The con­tent can also be very dif­fer­ent. It’s not al­ways a case of tak­ing con­tent and mak­ing a video of it with a signer. Many gov­ern­ment ser­vices can be very dif­fer­ent for BSL users and I am guess­ing it will be the same for other in­dus­tries. You need to tai­lor that con­tent. Run dif­fer­ent user jour­ney map­ping ses­sions to make sure you are get­ting the right in­for­ma­tion across on the right chan­nel at the right time.

Email de­sign Ta­ble talk

Should we use ta­bles in HTML emails or is there a bet­ter way? Dun­can McClean, Scot­land RP: The re­al­ity is that, for most brands, Out­look (and oth­ers) is still a pretty ma­jor con­sid­er­a­tion. That means you are go­ing to still be work­ing in ta­bles un­til that stops be­ing true. Even if you are work­ing with adap­tive de­sign, you are still go­ing to have code that is full of checks for Out­look with hid­den ta­bles and ta­ble cells in.

But the real ques­tion is ‘why does that mat­ter?’ There are fewer and fewer re­stric­tions on what you can achieve in email – es­pe­cially for iOS na­tive emails, so why do you care that you are us­ing a ta­ble ver­sus a <div> or an ar­ti­cle? While

it’s a bit of a pain to change gears if you are nor­mally a web dev, I’ve al­ways found that ta­bles make it quite easy to en­vis­age the code I need be­fore I even open my ed­i­tor.

Con­tent de­sign Mind your lan­guage

What changes have you no­ticed in lan­guage now that the web has to com­ply with ac­ces­si­bil­ity? Do we have to re­think how to la­bel our nav­i­ga­tion and CTAs? Michelan­gelo, Los An­ge­les, USA SR: To be bru­tal, I don’t think most or­gan­i­sa­tions have changed their lan­guage enough. Or, worse, they think they can ‘teach’ peo­ple lan­guage. If you are an au­thor, great. Peo­ple will be look­ing for skil­fully writ­ten prose. But if your au­di­ence is buy­ing some­thing they won’t want to mar­vel at your GCSE English skills.

Con­tent is the eas­i­est way to open your of­fer­ing to an au­di­ence. The best way to do that is: Write to your au­di­ence us­ing their lan­guage and to their needs. For­get jar­gon and phrases that make you look clever. Be clear and suc­cinct. Lan­guage and hu­man be­hav­iour change. Your con­tent needs to change with them.

This can be ap­plied to all con­tent but in calls-to-ac­tion and nav­i­ga­tion, you just have a smaller space. So you can: Work with de­sign­ers to make sure the words and de­sign give your au­di­ence the best chance of in­ter­act­ing. Use card sorts to look at how your au­di­ence will group items. Test, it­er­ate, test, it­er­ate.

Re­search will show you ev­ery­thing you need to do. In our cour­ses we show peo­ple how to do easy, cheap re­search that you can do while you are on a bus, so there’s no ex­cuse.

Pay gap Bridg­ing the gap

Why is the pay gap so large be­tween email de­vel­op­ers/de­sign­ers and web de­vel­op­ers? Aysha Marie Zouain, Flor­ida/Ge­or­gia, USA RP: Tricky one this. I’ve never re­cruited a mid-level email de­vel­oper or de­signer that could only work in that medium. You set your own value to the mar­ket and, if all you can do is de­sign or code emails and you are com­par­ing your­self to peo­ple who are work­ing on web­sites, emails and apps then you shouldn’t be sur­prised that they earn more. I think it is un­usual to have peo­ple that are only email de­sign­ers or devs.

If you only con­sider your­self to be an email de­vel­oper or de­signer then you’ve put a cap on your own devel­op­ment and pay. Wi­den your net and look out­side the chan­nel: it will ben­e­fit not only your pay packet but also your abil­ity to im­prove your work, ef­fi­ciency and de­sir­abil­ity to em­ploy­ers.

To learn more about British Sign Lan­guage or to en­rol on a course, visit the BSL web­site at british-sign.co.uk, which is packed with free re­sources, games and in­for­ma­tion

MJML (or Mail­jet Markup Lan­guage) has been de­signed to re­duce the pain of cod­ing a re­spon­sive email.

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