fmSpark Blog

A vote for plain text

email inboxI was realizing the other day just how much of my email, work and personal, I get on my iPhone. I get the same messages on my computer, but very often, I wind up reading them first on my phone.

It got me thinking about people who have to draw a clear line between their work email and their personal email. Those folks may well get all of their personal email on their mobile device. A quick search found a study by The Pew Internet Project in April that found that 49% of all U.S. adults use phones at least occasionally to use the internet or email on their phones. There's a very good chance that a large portion of your population is getting your emails on their phone.

It is really common to get HTML emails on a personal address - advertisements, spam, offers, newsletters. Many look really good on the computer screen on which they were composed. Unfortunately, it is just as common that those HTML emails look pretty awful on your phone. They are hard to read, have missing images, require a lot of scrolling to get to the point… and, honestly, I often just ignore them.

On the other hand, I always take the time to read a short, to the point, text based email. It is easy to do on a small screen.

In my experience working with schools, parents are most often identify non-work email addresses as their primary. I wonder how many of the pretty HTML blasts with great information are missed by the smartphone email checkers like me who don't enjoy having to work at reading their messages. 

Many schools use our Spark communications module and get excited about the HTML email, but practically, the thing that makes it powerful is the ability to easily send merged information in a personalized format. The plain text messages will be read by prospects and constituents alike. 

There is a place for HTML emails, for sure, but if I want to be sure that someone reads the message I am sending, I'm sticking with plain text. And when you decide that HTML is the way to go, be sure to include a plain text part that gives the gist of the message for the smartphone users.

fmSpark/NinjaCal Road Show - May 28th, Santa Clara, CA

Thursday 28th May
6:30 PM to 9:30pm

RSVP Now

FileMaker, Inc (The Wedge)
5201 Patrick Henry Dr.
Santa Clara, CA 95054

View Larger Map
Meeting Topic
I'll be in San Jose for another fmSpark/NinjaCal Roadshow. This will be an under-the-hood session on Proof's mail-merge solution, fmSpark and their latest must-have for FileMaker developers, NinjaCal, a super-easy-to-integrate native FileMaker calendar widget. The session will cover a range of topics including scripting practices, quasi-MVC design and the object-model architecture. Ernest Koe

fmSpark/NinjaCal Road Show - May 27, San Francisco, CA

Wednesday 27th May, 2008
6:00 PM to 8:00pm
RSVP Now

1855 Folsom Street
Room 126
San Francisco, California 94103

View Larger Map

Meeting Topic
This will be an under-the-hood session on Proof's mail-merge solution, fmSpark and their latest must-have for FileMaker developers, NinjaCal, a super-easy-to-integrate native FileMaker calendar widget. The session will cover a range of topics including scripting practices, quasi-MVC design and the object-model architecture.

fmSpark/NinjaCal Road Show - May 26th, Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
6:30pm to 8:30pm PST

MacForce
100 SE Salmon St.
Portland, OR 97214

RSVP Now

View Larger Map

Meeting Detail
fmSpark and NinjaCal under the hood
Ernest Koe from The Proof Group brings the fmSpark and NinjaCal Roadshow to Portland.

This will be an under-the-hood session on Proof's mail-merge solution, fmSpark and their latest must-have for FileMaker developers, NinjaCal, a super-easy-to-integrate native FileMaker calendar widget. The session will cover a range of topics including scripting practices, quasi-MVC design and the object-model architecture.

Quoting fmPUG:
When a talented developer thinks deeply on one problem for a long time, many great insights result. In addition to seeing these two great tools under the hood, you'll gain much from being exposed to these insights.

Door Prize for this meeting
FileMaker Pro 10

Recap of Philly Road Show Stop

Colin Keef wrote a nice recap of Ernest's presentation of fmSpark, NinjaCal and the MVC development model to the Philly FileMaker User Group.

Thanks, Colin, for the kind words!

Pages