During my time as an email dev, I spent a lot of time coming up with random little oddities to practice checkbox-hacking and to show stakeholders what is possible in the weird world of email. I loved making little things to make people laugh or even just to surprise them as a way to get the idea across.

A lot of the ideas were centred around the concept of “Gamification” – this is when you use “gaming techniques” to motivate consistent participation and long-term engagement. So essentially trying to attract or keep your customers more engaged using interesting techniques that they might have never seen before. It doesn’t have to be a game to be using a gamification strategy, but I really liked the idea of creating little games.


Here’s a little puzzle that I created to be used in an email for a gambling company. I envisioned the user getting a coupon after completing the puzzle. This one turned out to be too difficult of a puzzle, however, so something more simple that most people could complete would be much better. People have used a much more simple version where the user just receives a scratch card and then they can click to scratch it. Here’s an example of that from Email on acid.

screenshot of the puzzle in email


You Got Mail + Mail!

Mail within an email, this was one that I thought was pretty funny just for how meta it is. It’s just a simple CSS animation triggered by clicking to “open” the mail. Having a brand interacting with it’s users in a fun and interactive way could be very engaging for people and hopefully improve brand perception. Though having more mail within your email, not sure if that would make some people laugh or cry.

Gif showing the mail within mail



Here’s a fun idea I had during one particularly hot summer we had to endure in a not very ventilated office. We didn’t have enough fans at first and when they finally arrived to save the day, they were seen as the heroes of the office that month. So I made a little thing to show off the possibilities of CSS animation with rotating fan blades. I thought they could create a campaign around it and sell lots of fans. Though with how hot it was, places probably didn’t need much help selling fans.


This was an idea that got pitched to Bettson in one of the regular innovation emails that I sent out. It allowed different content to be showed depending on where the user clicked on the image here. This can be used to show before and after or just contrasting content in an interesting way that you don’t encounter in emails.

Product Selector

This was an example I made to show eBay the possibilities of using checkbox-hacking in an email to create something similar to what could be done in the browser. At the time there was a push from eBay to try to unify their marketing channels as much as they could and to try to make the experience similar from the web to email. It was very well received because the possibilities are pretty endless once you get a good designer on board to flesh out the concept.


Christmas is a time for cheesiness and merriment, so I quickly threw together an advent calendar that I sent around to show how checkbox hacking could be used.

christmas advent calendar

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  1. Davidapold says:

    Thanks for the post