How best to display e-mail on a handheld

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The way e-mails display on handheld devices is an increasingly important topic these days. Especially in the b-to-b realm, how many business folks do you see these days with a BlackBerry in their hands? There are a number of components that can be optimized for handheld rendering, but let's focus on a quick and impactful improvement: optimizing the "from" name.

In the early days of e-mail, it was important to monitor subject line truncation in a number of e-mail clients to ensure that it did not make the subject line misleading. While this isn't as large a concern today, it is once again time to revisit truncation discussions. This time, we are looking at "from" name truncation on handheld devices.

Until recently, I wouldn't even have considered this an issue. But then it hit. The little red light on my BlackBerry began to blink. I picked it up. I looked; and low and behold, I have received an e-mail from … iMarketers Ass.

Don't laugh too hard. It could happen to you because this phenomenon is not getting any attention. After polling a number of my clients, I learned that none of them had even considered the potential for disaster. It is important to know that, on average, 14 characters of the "from" name will render on a handheld device. While this might not be a concern for everyone, it definitely should be considered.

The downside is that testing this rendering is difficult. Varying screen sizes, font sizes and themes all affect the number of characters that will render, but using the 14-character guideline is better than having no benchmark at all. Do a quick gut check of how your "from" name is rendering on a few handheld devices to ensure you don't encounter the same issue as the iMarketers Association.

Kara Trivunovic is director of strategic services at Premiere Global Services, eMarketing Solutions (

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