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Published on May 25th, 2010 | by Janine Popick

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Email Delivery: How Your Email Looks in Different Email Clients

Our Email Delivery Manager Kiersti Esparza, recently contributed to our blog with Part 1 which focused on Authentication, Reputation, Feedback Loops and Bounced Email. Today she’ll be talking about Email Rendering.

It’s important to know that your email is going to look the way you think it will in most of the email clients your recipients use, after all your email marketing campaign has to give you the response you need to be successful. At VerticalResponse, we test all of our templates in a variety of email clients, however we always recommend that you to test your email marketing campaigns in a few clients (Gmail, Outlook, AOL, etc.) as well.

HTML and Text…Delivered

Most Email Service Providers send emails as multipart messages which means that when your email sent, it’s sent with both the graphical HTML version that has images and clickable links AND a separate text version. The email client your email is delivered to then renders the most appropriate version; if it’s an email client that accepts an HTML message then that is the version that will be delivered – a huge majority of email clients accept and render the html version. If the recipient has specified that they only want to see text emails, then this is how the message will be delivered.

Rendering on Mobile Device

Text versions of your email come into play when recipients check email on their mobile devices.  Some mobile devices only render text, so the email will always appear as the text version if viewed on most mobile clients.  When drafting your text version, if you know a high percentage of your recipients will likely be viewing the email on their mobile device it would be wise to pay attention to the width of your text version.  Most mobile devices will show 20 to 40 characters in 12 to 15 lines per screen.  But this will vary by phone type, screen width and type style. We’ve written about Creating Your Email for Mobile Devices.

Images Not Displayed

Another factor to keep in mind as you test your content and view it in different email clients is that most do not render images anymore by default.  They leave this action up to the recipient’s discretion.  When you test your campaigns make sure there is a way to view your email with both the images on and off.  Some recipients will choose not to view images for whatever reason and will receive the email – without opening the images or activating the links. We’ve written about this here: 5 Things to Know About Using Images In Your Email.

ALT Text – What It Is and Why You Need It

Remember to design your campaign to be readable with the images on or off.  Some email clients display an image’s ALT text when images are suppressed.  ALT text is the text that is displayed instead of your image. So ensure the ALT text is properly entered when you upload a picture and include a description of the image. For more on ALT text: Creating Your Email For “Images Off”.

Hope this helps. Any questions, comment!

© 2010 – 2013, Janine Popick. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

is a contributing author for VerticalResponse.



One Response to Email Delivery: How Your Email Looks in Different Email Clients

  1. Mark says:

    Oh, yes formatting in various email clients – oh, so irritating. Even various versions of MS Outlook render differently.
    A good idea is to open various email accounts, like Gmail, Yahoo mail, Hotmail, etc as well as testing on MS Outlook 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010. What we do is develop an email template and test that with the various email clients. Then we stick to using that template only (i.e. same html coding).
    There are also other annoying problems that occur, like Hotmail and Gmail adding in gaps between images. You fix it by adding this html code to your images… display: block;
    For example:
    img src=”image.jpg” style=”display: block;” /
    Mark
    http://www.smartfashionmarketing.com.au

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