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How is my e-mail affected when it’s viewed on a handheld device?

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Answer: 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 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 improvement that can have a big impact: the “from” name.

In early e-mail days, it was important to monitor subject line truncation in a number of e-mail clients to ensure that the truncation 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 on handheld devices.

Two weeks ago, I wouldn’t have considered this an issue. But then it hit: The little red light on my BlackBerry began to blink. I picked it up, looked at it and I had received an e-mail from … eMarketers 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 will render in the “from” name 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 check of how your “from” name is rendering on a few handheld devices to ensure you don’t encounter the same issue as the eMarketers Association.

Kara Trivunovic is director of strategic services, Premiere Global Services, eMarketing Solutions (www.pgiconnect.com).

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