We’ll be honest. When we created our first edition, we were Mailchimp novices and not all that concerned with design principles. Ever since, we have been adding to a list of small annoyances related to the template and thinking about what we’d do different if we started over. About two months ago, we did just that.
Our first goal was to make the recommendations easier and more enjoyable to read for our early-Sunday morning eyes. So we reconfigured our style: lowering the contrast, distinguishing the most important sections, and removing distracting lines and gaudy type.
We sent a beta test of our new template to some of our most dedicated readers last week, and were pleased to see they also enjoyed the changes. Asked about the new designs readability on a scale of 1-5, 91% of respondents gave it a 4 or a 5, with 5 being the most common response by far.
As you may have noticed, there was another change in our template: the addition of a time-to-read count. After hearing from friends and fans who wanted to know which story they should read when, we figured we’d try to help all of our readers out by developing a system to generate those counts (using a reading speed of ~200 words per minute) and then rounding to the nearest five-minute mark to respect your varied speeds. Ninety percent of our beta testers appreciated the new feature.
To make things even easier, we added a ‘Suprise Me!’ option at the top of each of our newsletters, which we will hope will add some serendipity to your Sunday routine and help those who can’t decide where to start when faced with so much amazing reporting and writing.
Tim Torkildson is a retired circus clown. He is a graduate of Brown College in Minneapolis. He makes his home in Provo Utah. His work has appeared in the New York Times and Huffington Post. He is currently re-inventing the limerick, one anapest at a time.
We hope you enjoy our revamped look! Now, it’s time to clear that list of annoyances and start again!
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