Pure360 – Top 10 HTML tips for email – part 2
…Episode II – Attack of the Clues
Following on from ‘Episode I – The Email Menace’, is the second batch of HTML tips for writing cross-client compatible emails, helping you write better email HTML.
6. Don’t stack tables
‘Stacked tables’ is a term for when you have made a table of content, closed it and then opened a new table underneath for more content. This should be avoided as it can cause mis-alignment of your content, with some tables being centred and some orphaned to the left.
To avoid this you should create one ‘wrapper table’ (see Tip 5) and include your content in tables within each table row. This means that you should end up with one table, with lots of tables in rows inside it, stopping any strange mis-alignment occurring.
7. Try to keep them about 600px wide
Emails should be kept to roughly 600px wide, this is for a number of reasons. Firstly, your objective is to make your user experience the best that it can be. People are used to scrolling in a single direction for more content, but if your email is too wide, you may end up making recipients scroll both vertically and horizontally, which recipients will not enjoy.
Secondly, email is become more and more mobile every day. More people are opening emails on their phones, tablets and other mobile devices than ever before, so you need to make sure that your email is going to be viewable on a much smaller screen than normal.
600px wide emails will shrink to fit the screen of an iPhone for instance, and it’s fairly easy for someone to zoom in (although not ideal). Whereas if your email is much larger than this, the content when zoomed out will be illegible and users may not bother reading your email.
8. Avoid embedded media (Videos/Flash etc..)
Support for embedded media (videos/Flash/Audio etc…) is very thin on the ground with email clients. The only thing that is supported by most email clients are animated gifs, and even then there isn’t 100% cross-client support.
If you wish to put a video or similar in an email, the best thing to do is take a screenshot of the video file from YouTube/Vimeo etc… so that it looks like an embedded video. You would then, simply link to the video with a URL that would open up in the recipients web browser, where they could then watch the video.
This technique will work across every email client, not just a couple.
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