Responsive Web Design

One of the questions we most commonly field is “What is Responsive Web Design?”, and we typically answer from a Coding perspective. In a nutshell: the HTML files are coded with flexible images and media queries so that the design will render differently based on the viewing device (say desktop vs mobile or tablet). Coding for RWD is more complex, and typically takes 50% more time than non-responsive. Additionally, the designer and the coder need to be on the same page, and therefore communication time is also typically increased. We came across this stellar blogpost from Sandijs Ruluks with the FROONT team on 9 basic principles of responsive web design, which addresses many of the questions from a Design perspective. As the saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words. We think the animated GIFs included in the article are worth a lot more. Check it out!

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Happy 99th(!) Birthday Chuck Williams!

From: Williams-Sonoma
Date: 10/02/2014
Subject Line: Celebrate with Savings – 20% Off Select Cookware, Tools & More – In Stores & Online

10.02.2014 WS

This promotional email from Williams-Sonoma is in honor of their founder’s birthday. Chuck Williams is a true pioneer and is a legendary figure in the hospitality and retail industries. To read more about Chuck Williams’ life and the Williams-Sonoma legacy, go here. From contractor to hardware store owner to founder of a multi billion dollar high end retail chain, his life story (thus far!) is an amazing one. As a side note, I had the pleasure to take care of Mr. Williams a few times, back in my prior career in the restaurant industry at Fleur de Lys. I am pleased to report he was a very gracious and humble guest, and it was a true pleasure to serve him!

From: Williams-Sonoma
Date: 10/03/2014
Subject Line: Hello Sonoma! Join us for our Grand Opening Celebration!

10.03.2014 WS

In related news, the original Williams-Sonoma retail store in Sonoma is set to have its grand re-opening this weekend. Mr.Williams and the Williams-Sonoma team have much to celebrate!


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For Restoration Hardware, it’s Not Easy Being Green

From: Restoration Hardware

06.15.2014 RH 206.15.2014 RH 1

Bad move Restoration Hardware… As greenies and digital marketing proponents, Code à la Mode cannot support the distribution of this collection of catalogs (which RH refers to as “Source Books”). They are weighing in at 17 pounds and measure more than 3″ thick! While there may be a market for designers and decorators who prefer to receive the hard copies, it would be better to have the delivery as “opt in”.

BTW, if you received one of these behemoths, and want to do the environment a favor, you can remove yourself from the mailing list here. For the love of the earth, PLEASE, help save the trees!

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7 Tips for the Creating the Perfect Survey Invitation Email

Ever since my teenage days reading Cosmo, Mademoiselle, and the like, I have been an avid survey taker.  I still love taking surveys, only now that we are in the digital world, the enticement usually comes in the format of an email.  Read on for a few useful tips to increase participation…

1. Use a clear and concise subject line that does not include any SPAM-y language. Most Subject Line Best Practices dictate that it should be no more than 35 characters, and with the primary message upfront. Also, avoid using all CAPS or $, as many Email Service Providers will filter your email and deliver to the SPAM folder, where its chances of being viewed are slim-to-none.
2. Provide an incentive. Be it extra miles, a chance to win a sweepstakes, or a gift card… You are asking your customers to do you a favor…show your appreciation and make it worth their while!
3. Be up front about the time needed to participate. Nobody wants to get sucked into taking a survey, only to find that the questions are seemingly never-ending! And be specific about the time… “Short” is relative, “5 minutes” is quantified.
4. Be clear about who you are. If you are using a third party to send your survey email, make sure to include your organization’s name in the subject line. If you are partnering with another organization, consider giving a brief explanation as to the reasons and benefits for the partnership.
5. Make it personal. Include the name of your respondents in the subject line and/or body of the email, and any other relevant information.
6. Give a deadline. This serves dual purposes: it provides a sense of urgency to complete the survey, and informs those survey takers who may not have time when they first open the email that they can’t procrastinate indefinitely. You may also want to consider sending a reminder message if your survey-takers have clicked on the original email, but not yet taken the survey (assuming they have not opted out from the first send).
7. Don’t forget to say Thank You! You can include language that thanks your participants in advance, and also send a follow-up Thank You email. Remember, everybody likes to feel appreciated. 🙂

A well-crafted email using the above Best Practices will ensure that you have a high participation rate in your survey.

What’s next?…Stay tuned for my follow-up blog piece: 7 Tips for the Creating the Perfect Online Survey

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For Fiat, Orange is the New Green

From: Fiat
Date: 03/24/2014
Subject Line: Welcome to the FIAT® family.

03.24.2014 Fiat


Rarely is the Code à la Mode team moved to blog about something that arrives in an actual old school mailbox. However, this little gem from FIAT is so clever, that we feel compelled to make an exception (plus, there is no way that the same physical content could have been delivered via email or other digital format).

Here are a few things to love about this direct mail piece:
1) The color. Orange is the signature color for the Fiat 500e – the bright color makes their cars stand out on the road, and this piece of mail “pop” in comparison to all the usual junk in the mailbox. Keeping with the color theme, the packaging contains a thank you card imbedded with poppy seeds, the California state flower*.
2) The copy. It is short, sweet, and kinda sexy. You’ve joined a family with fashionable taste… makes one feel like a part of the in crowd. The brief set of resources listed in the handy reference guide (which will go in the glove box) are a nice additional touch.
3) The eco-friendly packaging (just like the Fiat 500e itself!). Naturally, the envelope and contents are printed on recycled/compostable paper.

*Note: for the time being, the 500e is available ONLY in California.

In short, everything about this Thank You card is perfectly in sync with the entire Fiat 500e marketing program.

Ciao for now, darlings…time to go for a spin! 🙂

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