Cartoons just for Email Marketers

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Aside from Dilbert, I haven’t seen too many attempts to garner a laugh about the woes of email marketing, until now… MarketingSherpa to the rescue!
Will you laugh or groan in recognition? My favourites are “If marketing emails could talk” – because that’s exactly how I envision email after going through the battering ram of filters out there, and “How email authentication really works”, for the complete lack of sympathy ISPs sometimes have in delivering my email correctly.
Have fun and comment on your own experiences: “7 Best Cartoons on Email Marketing”.

Getting Order Confirmations Past Spam Filters

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I just “placed an order”:http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=603937&sku=I106-1024 with “TigerDirect.ca”:http://www.tigerdirect.ca/ and I noticed some interesting copy at the bottom of the confirmation page after the order was completed:
bq. Note: If you do not receive the confirmation message within next several hours, check your spam folder in case the confirmation email got delivered there instead of your inbox. If so, select the confirmation message and click This is Not Spam (AOL), Not Junk (Hotmail), Not Spam (Yahoo), Not Spam (Gmail) or the like, which will allow future messages to get through.
Given the rise in the use of spam filters (often overzealous ones), I think we’ll see more of this kind of stuff in the future. I thought this was particularly useful in that it spelled out exactly what to do for the most common e-mail systems.

Gmail Ups Storage and Adds Rich Formatting

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googlerichformatting.png
Interesting to see that Google has “added rich formatting”:http://gmail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=8260 to “Gmail”:http://gmail.google.com/gmail while “upping storage space limits”:http://www.google.com/gmail/help/whatsnew.html. While Google and “Wired News”:http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,67094,00.html both say the new limit is 2GB, my Gmail account says “You are currently using 106 MB (7%) of your 1509 MB.” An April Fool’s joke perhaps?

It’s Not Just the ‘internet’ Now

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I just discovered, (via Zeldman) that Wired News has changed its style guide so that Web and Internet are now web and internet.
I always thought that you were supposed to capitalize proper nouns. And to me “Internet” is the name of a unique thing (as is Web). There is only one Internet and one Web so they deserve the caps. With all due respect to Wired and Zeldman, until we have more then one Internet or Web, I think the capitals remain.
Referring to a “Web designer” or an “Internet consultant” doesn’t allow you do drop the under the argument that there are many of those. The Web and Internet in those terms are adjectives modifying the nouns and as such (I believe) retain their caps. Just like “Pope watcher” or “Madonna fan” aren’t “pope watcher” and “madonna fan”.
BTW, I use e-mail not E-mail, intranet not Intranet (there are lots of intranets, not just one), and Net (short for Internet) not ‘Net or net.

Cleaning Up For The Housekeeper

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Kathleen Straub has written a nice overview of the difference between an Expert Review and User Testing called “Cleaning Up For The Housekeeper”.
The whole article is good, but here’s a key point she makes:
bq.. “*Expert Review* examines details of human computer interaction guided by basic research about how humans interpret, understand and interact with objects in the world. As such, Heuristic Review exploits our generic understanding of human cognition to identify design/presentation details that may facilitate or impede a user’s progress within a task. These include issues such as affordances (How obvious the right next-thing-to-do is.), consistency and the effectiveness of layout and color to guide the user experience.
*Usability testing* identifies gaps between the site model and representative user conceptual use model in the specific context of use. Meaningful usability testing means observing representative users doing things on the site. Users bring unique domain knowledge and experience to their user experience. Designers—even experts—don’t have the same perspective.”
p. The title comes from the distinction between “straightening” and “cleaning”. You don’t hire a “straightening lady” so you need to straighten first so she can do her job. In the same way, it makes sense to do an expert review first (to “straighten”) and then do usability testing (to “clean”).