Salsa Scoop> tag: ”blog:design“

Salsa Weekly Highlight: Avoid Composing in Microsoft Word

by Leslie Hall

(From this week's Weekly Highlight email. Click here to sign up to receive it in your inbox every week!)

It's the "Salsa Weekly Highlight," your quick hit on what's what in Salsa to help get the most out of your online program. As always, you can find plenty more news, updates, and conversation throughout the week on

This week, I just wanted to remind you to avoid copying and pasting from Microsoft Word into Salsa (and probably into most any other online design tool you might use).

I know, I know. It looks like it should work. Lay out page in familiar Word interface, copy, paste it into web page or email blast. Easy, right?

Unfortunately, appearances are deceiving in this case.

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The Email Gnome: Shrink Your Images

by The Email Gnome

Welcome everyone, to the first installment of The Email Gnome. I’ll be giving you tips and tricks to make your email blasts faster, better, and more reliable.
Being a gnome, I’m a fan of all things small, and email blasts are no exception.

Small is beautiful.

The larger an email blast is, the longer it takes to send, and the longer it takes for your recipients to download. Large emails also increase the suspicion of spam blockers and filters, and increase complaint rates because of downloads timing out.

The optimum size for an email blast is under about 25 Kilobytes (KB), and the maximum size of an email blast is about 250 KB. As an example, a recent Friday Fiesta email was about 8 KB.

In terms of size restrictions, don't worry much about text: type away until your heart’s content, and you won't have to worry about your e-blast being too big. (I'd keep it brief, as your supporters are unlikely to want to read a novel in their inbox. But if they did want to, you could send an entire text version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and it would top out at only 177 KB!)

Where you really get into trouble is with pictures and images, especially the high-resolution ones that you or someone else took with a fancy digital camera. While these look awesome on your computer screen, they can slow email to a crawl.
Which brings us to today’s topic: image resizing.

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Email Standards Project Launches

Tags: blog:design  |  blog:email  |  blog:html  |  blog:nptech  |  blog:standards  |  Email
Comes the desperately overdue project for some kind of synoptic understanding of standards in e-mail. Sweet mercy, is that an oasis? Here's the introductory blog post:
[W]hy is it so hard to build a decent HTML email? The answer was not that nobody really cared, it was that the people who cared weren’t in a position to make any difference, or were not getting any support. That’s what the Email Standards Project is about: Making sure that people do care, that they do see why having standards support for email clients is important. And about making sure that our voices are heard by the people who can make a difference, the email client developers. This is not about complaining or being unrealistic. It’s about making contact with the right people, and getting them all the support they can use to improve their email clients. We want to work with the design community and the email clients to set some goals for email standards so that we can aim at a future when HTML email is not so hard.

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A Pretty Big Design Flaw

They only seem small until they seem big. Update: Fox lawyers say Family Guy YouTube posts also have a design flaw.

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Basic HTML E-mailing: The Domains Senders Must Test

Tags: blog:design  |  blog:dia-lysis  |  blog:email  |  blog:html  |  blog:nptech  |  blog:tipsheet  |  Email
A recent conversation about the vagaries of HTML e-mail on the Progressive Exchange mailing list prompted some good conversation about a perennially vexing topic: how do you keep your hard-won html design rendering properly in your recipients' mailboxes? Short answer: you probably don't. For coders who like to get into it, I've been in the habit of recommending the exhaustive sleuthing done by sorta-competitor Campaign Monitor (for instance), which blogs the bejeezus out of the issue and has great resources like 30 free design-compliant templates that might shortcut the process. The thumbnail version for the rest of us is that there's no orthodoxy. Like 4th century heretics, every e-mail provider has its own slightly different standard which on pain of hellfire and junk filtering is incompatible with every other provider's standard. What's a small organization without the luxury of coding line-by-line styles to do?

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Tuesday Tips: A Dozen Tips for Sprucing up Your Website

(Susan Finkelpearl of former DIA roommates Free Range Graphics has this week's Tuesday Tips entry on a little spring cleaning for the web site. This post is also available as a .pdf, and will be one of her handouts at the Nonprofit Tech Conference this week. We could probably stand to take note of a few of these tips ourselves ... thanks, Susan! -jrz)
Have you given your website some design love lately? Here are some fast tips for taking your site to the next level. 1. Don’t forget the fold. Just as old-fashioned newspapers have a fold line, if a web page gets too long, people will have to scroll to see all of the content on the page. When designing your home and interior pages, make sure to put important items such as news features, donate buttons, and e-newsletter sign-ups above the fold, where they can be seen easily. 2. Be a creative conformist. The web works because key site elements appear in consistent locations across all well-designed web sites. While you want your website to have a look and feel that is unique to your organization, make sure you also follow design conventions. For example, people have come to expect that search bars be placed in the top right of a webpage while logos are most often in the top left position. Nine times out of ten you should stick with these conventions. Groups like Amazon play with these conventions, but again it’s generally wisest to plunk key navigational elements where people expect to see them. 3. Make your asks contextual. Don’t let isolated "donate buttons" do all the fundraising legwork on your site. Work donation asks into areas where you are telling the most compelling stories about your accomplishments. 4. Let thy people donate! When someone does click a donate button, reward them immediately with a donate form. Don’t make them click more or wade through a lot of copy before letting them help you. In fact, it’s highly recommended that the form be the default first page of your donate section.

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Get $15,000 in Communications Services from Free Range's Gratitude Grant

Our friends (and former landladies and -lords) down the way at Free Range Graphics are offering Gratitude Grant(s) for compelling progressive causes. Free Range -- the brains behind such design/marketing brilliance as The Meatrix -- tantalizes with the prospect of:
up to $15,000 worth of our communications services from our menu of core offerings: strategic communications consulting, organizational identity, print design, web design and Flash animation. Need to rally activists around an issue or capture critical media attention? Modernize your logo? Chart out an online fundraising strategy? As long as you have a concrete goal and a mission that makes a positive difference for our planet and its people, we encourage you to apply!

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Liveblogging Your Nonprofit Web Site Redesign

Tags: blog:design  |  blog:nptech
Via the nptech tag stream comes word of Designing Inward Out, "a public diary of a non-profit's website redesign process," a young blog unspooling for months to come with the searchingly expository particulars of what the first post calls "the underbelly of a project." One that might look not entirely unfamiliar, even if, to paraphrase Tolstoy, every nonprofit website redesign is redesigned in its own way. This ought to be an interesting read, and for a process glacial enough for deliberative liveblogging.

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Hiding in Plain Sight

Ordinarily being the kind of insufferable nitpick to chafe at minor spelling infringements, I was surprised to learn that the master login page I've been using for going on two years now ... well, it ... Amazingly, none of the other 10+ folks who use this page -- many of them daily, for thousands (at least) of combined page views among them -- noticed the typo in glaring h1 font either, until someone went to access it through a handheld and was forced by the unfamiliar display to, as it were, read it anew.

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New Bottles

We thought DemocracyInAction could use a fresh wrapper. With fond farewells to the that honest, bygone site that bent with the wear of carrying us through the Sturm und Drang of adolescence. Walk away proud ... ... but do walk away. And if I loved you Wednesday, Well, what is that to you?

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