OpenTable Inspires With Scalable Email Design

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Mobile opens are continuing to increase — we saw mobile opens rise again in November — and currently represent 41% of total email opens. We’re seeing more and more brands look toward including mobile in their digital marketing strategy, and mobile-friendly email is definitely an important component!

When I saw this email from OpenTable, I was really impressed with their mobile optimization! While the email doesn’t have a responsive design, it is scalable, making it easy to interact with in all environments.


As discussed in an earlier post, email designers can establish a mobile-friendly visual framework by taking a mobile aware approach. This approach ensures the email will be easy to interact with, no matter where the message is read.

Due to its slender design, text of at least 14px, and touch-friendly buttons, this email is easy to interact with in all environments. However, since the text of the preheader and footer is between 11-12px, those aspects of the email are difficult to read on the small screen of a mobile device.


Since their email looked so great and was easy to interact with on a mobile device, I was a little surprised that when I clicked on one of the links in the email, I was brought to a landing page that isn’t mobile-friendly at all.

As you can see, this landing page is nearly impossible to interact with on a mobile device. I had to zoom in a lot to read the text and even more to click on a link — it was not a very smooth experience and, to be honest, it took away from their mobile-optimized email.

Oddly enough, in the preheader of the email, there is a link to a mobile site. However, since the text of the preheader is extremely small, it would be difficult to click on this link on a smartphone. If the subscriber managed to do so, they would be brought to OpenTable’s mobile-optimized website.

It’s a catch-22 — click on the touch-friendly CTA that brings you to a non-mobile-friendly landing page OR zoom in on the smaller link that brings you to the mobile-optimized site. The content on each is a bit different: the main CTA/button leads to a list of restaurants whereas the mobile site takes you to an app-like page that prompts you to search for reservations. The ideal experience would involve all calls to action leading to mobile-optimized or responsive sites that detect the environment they’re being viewed in.

I wonder if this is currently a limitation that OpenTable is working through, since they seem to have taken a bit of a hybrid approach with this email.


Do you have an email that you’d like us to feature in our inspiration series? Send it to us at!