Evolution of Email Notifications

For the past few months we have been silently changing email notifications. The purpose of changing the emails was to make them more polished and up to the Wufoo standard without disrupting what our current users have become familiar with. The process we decided on was to make a template, and roll it out to 5,000 users. Then, based on feedback, revise the template and roll out to another 5,000. Rinse and repeat those steps until all users have seen the new template. The end result contains better looking emails, new features and a [plain text option](https://help.wudev.com/articles/en_US/kb/Notifications/#plain).

Email Format

Feedback on the appearance of the emails was consistent on a few points. Below is a list of concerns, and how we modified the emails in response:

– **Smarter formatting of custom Wufoo fields**: All fields now have the same formatting found in the entry manager. Unlike previous emails that just presented a list, the new format shows the data in context of the field type.

– **Preserve space**: Certain fields are concatenated. For example, a Name field in the email will show “Ryan Campbell” all on the same line. Additionally, if a field was not filled out, it will not appear in the email. This makes brief glances at an email easier, and saves room for printing.

– **Improve readability**: By placing a fixed width on the field names, the data submitted by the user always aligns making for an easier read. We also put logic to change the display of a paragraph text based on how many characters the user typed in.

– **Permalink to entries**: Quickly editing an entry is desirable for some uses of Wufoo, but placing a permalink on every email didn’t work out. Too many people send out emails to different parties who don’t have login access, so the link was just wasted space and a distraction at the bottom of the email. The compromise we came to is that a permalink will be placed at the bottom of a notification if the email is sent to the Wufoo account holder, and there is no Reply To address set. So, if you use Wufoo for dialogue with your customers, there will be no permalink; however, when using by yourself for personal tracking, it will be present.

Along with feedback on the design of the new emails, a good amount of feature requests came in. Based on that feedback, we have added: custom notification settings to change the [From Address and Message Subject](https://help.wudev.com/articles/en_US/kb/Notifications/#inbox), a [templating system](https://help.wudev.com/articles/en_US/kb/Templating/) to allow for dynamic Messages Subjects, and the ability to change an email to plain text. We decided to offer a plain text version for those users who programmatically parse emails or who have an email client designed to support plain text. We’re happy and excited to have this ironed out and on the live servers, and we hope you like the changes.

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