Email Design Email Marketing Litmus

Get rid of ugly alt text on images with this quick trick

One of my favorite little email tricks I’ve learned in the past year is that you can style alt text of images. This is particularly handy for logos or images that contain styled information that you want to remain consistent with your brand.

For example, our email newsletter has our logo at the top:

Full color logo illustrating image display in email.

In some email clients, like Outlook, images often aren’t rendered “to protect your privacy.” Having default alt text is ugly! With in-line CSS added to the img tag, you can easily create a more on-brand situation:

Logo image depicting alt text with styles added to image tag.

I simply added our brand color for pink, the brand font family, and capitalized to give a similar feel to the logo that always appears in all caps. If you’re using a builder, such as Litmus, you can easily toggle the images on and off to quickly see the effect.

Design UX

A note on users and the people who interact with your website

One of the many things that’s made Disney so successful is how they’ve effectively removed any mental association of money with the purchases their customers make. You don’t pay with cash, and now you don’t even pay with credit cards. Rather, you get a super fun Mickey band for your wrist that you can tap on anything and it’s yours! It’s a powerful technique, and it works.

I often think of this dissociation technique when I hear people discuss other human beings who use the products they’re trying to sell. In my case, I am referring to websites and “users.” People are not people in the Web world. They are faceless, nameless users that you don’t associate with real human beings. This is a problem!

It’s not a purposeful technique employed in the same way Disney employs it to make more money, but the effect is there nonetheless. Words and associations matter, whether you’re using them to purposefully drive profit or carelessly using them and succumbing to unintended mental gaps.

Calling people “users” doesn’t as easily allow you to design for the people who are going to be interacting with your digital landscape, whether it’s your website, ad network or social media. Your “user” is someone who can’t figure out how to navigate your site, and instead of blaming the company they blame themselves for not being smart enough. Thinking of people internalizing ineffective, poor design in this way is heartbreaking.

I prefer to say “people” or “customers,” which has the connotation that these are people who are engaging in a transaction with what you’re creating. People are not simply using your website. They are giving you their time, data and money, and that’s a big deal worth correctly identifying.