Over the years the “people don’t scroll on the web!” mantra has been both supported and denied. Today I think it’s pretty fair to say the majority of people have figured out how and when to scroll a web page. This has pretty much become a non-issue.

But there’s another scrolling issue worth thinking about: Email scrolling. Standardized emails are too long. These usually take the form of “Welcome to our product” emails or verbose auto-responders that have one line of steak and 150 lines of sizzle.

People don’t read these things. They’re too long, they’re too wordy, they’re too fluffy.

Welcome emails seem to be the biggest offenders. Welcome emails have become the place where copywriters and web designers shoehorn all the stuff that didn’t make it onto the web site. “Ugh, just put it in the welcome email.” They’re the bastard child of the signup process.

Long emails get ignored and filed away. Short emails get read. People see the value without having to get out the reading glasses. A welcome email shouldn’t be a novel.

We used to have a really information packed welcome email for Basecamp. It had everything you’d ever need to know about your Basecamp account. And guess what? We got lots of support emails asking about the things people should have spotted in the welcome email. But they couldn’t see through all the fog we put in their way.

Ever since we cut the welcome email way back we’ve seen significant reductions in basic support questions such as “What is our URL?” and “How can I upgrade” and “What’s my username?” Small change, noticeable results.

Here’s an example of the current Highrise welcome email:

Short, sweet, to the point. That’s everything someone really needs to know right now. And it’s everything they can find later on if they need to. No wading, no translating, no digging through piles of words to find the quick answer.