Email Newsletter Improvements Let You Customize Your Content : NPR ExtraWe've spent the last three months revamping our email newsletters. In addition to a new preference center and updated email designs, NPR now offers email subscriptions to all blogs and new sections.
Email Newsletter Improvements Let You Customize Your Content
Lauren Bracey Scheidt
Email may not get all the air time these days, but thousands in the NPR audience rely on our newsletters in their inbox to stay up to date with breaking news, to get new stories across a variety of favorite topic areas, and to hear about new products and sales at the NPR Shop. Emails also come in handy when you want to share stories with your friends without leaving NPR.org.
Over the last three months, you might have noticed a few updates to the look of the NPR newsletters in your inbox. Behind those emails we've been hard at work revamping the back-end system to give you a better experience and offer several new features. Our goals in this process have been to be respectful of your inbox (who doesn't get too much email these days?) and keep NPR newsletters relevant and delightful.
Here are a few visuals of what things looked like before and after the improvements were made:
The new email layout (Left) gives more importance to artwork and has larger type for easier reading compared with the old layout (Right).
Before: Stories shared via email used to look like they were by a robot.
After: Now when you share a story using email, your recipients get an easy-to-read message that includes an image.
Before: Every daily subscription was sent separately, resulting in as many as six separate emails a day for you. To prevent email overload, we were hesitant to add any new daily subscriptions.
After: Today, our new "Daily Digest" newsletter includes fully-customizable sections. Viewers on mobile phones receive an optimized version.
After: Blog subscribers will now see all the content from their selections inside the one Daily Digest email.
Before: The breaking news alert was cluttered with a hard-to-read font and lots of links unrelated to the story at hand.
After: The new Breaking News Alert gets straight to the point.
Before: The "Email a Friend" form took you out of our standard sharing flow, and included a distracting number of unrelated fields and sponsorship graphics.
After: Now "Email a Friend" form only asks for the information required to share your story. It opens in a separate window and closes automatically, so you can easily find your way back.
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New Email Subscription Option: NPR Daily Digest
Now you can get one daily email subscription to our most popular stories of the day; our main coverage areas including news, arts and life, and music; select daily radio programs; and all NPR.org blogs. All of your daily selections are combined into a single digest, because no matter how much you love NPR, you probably don't want 30 emails a day.
How to Sign Up for Email Newsletters and Breaking News Alerts
Check the boxes for any newsletters or Daily Digest topic you'd like to receive.
To ensure that messages from NPR come into your inbox, add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book or Safe Senders list.
Your subscriptions will be updated within 24 hours. Since newsletters are sent weekly, it may take a few days to receive your first edition.
Improvements To Sharing Stories Via Email
When you want to share a story with a friend, the process is even easier for you and your friend.
For you, we've simplified the "Email a Friend" form down to three required fields and an optional message. If you're logged in, you'll save time because your name and email address will be pre-populated in the form. Finally, when you're finished sharing, the window will close automatically, leaving you back on that story.
Meanwhile, your friend will now receive an email that looks like it comes from NPR instead of a robot. Any personal message that you include is easier to see, and the story description will include an image if one is available.
Streamlined View; Easier to Read
We've given all of our newsletters a facelift. Our most popular weekly newsletters have more space for photography and are easier to read, particularly on mobile devices. Breaking News alerts are significantly cleaner and should be delivered more quickly.
Subscribing, Unsubscribing and Privacy
You can log in to change your email preferences or unsubscribe from all emails at any time. Every newsletter includes a link to this email preference center.
As usual, if you have a problem with your NPR.org account, please contact us. Let us know in the comments your ideas for other email newsletters or program improvements that you'd like to see.
Lauren Bracey Scheidt is the Product Manager for Web Intelligence and Consumer Engagement. She manages a variety of digital products including email newsletters, podcasts and audio franchises.