The 411 on HTML Standards
In the 1990s, marketing experts routinely told their clients to avoid using HTML in email messages since it hampered functionality, triggered spam filters and took too long to download. Improved technology has since resolved those issues, and made the coding language virtually de rigueur in online campaigns.
But Adam Covati says HTML still has one major hurdle to overcome: compatibility across all major email accounts (eg, Hotmail, AOL, Gmail). Until the industry adopts uniform standards, Covati recommends taking these steps to ensure your HTML messages render properly:
Use table-based positioning. CSS positioning is among the least-supported email HTML features among major email clients.
Use a good balance of text and images. And always send HTML emails with a text version as backup. Also, avoid embedding Flash, as it does not work consistently in most email clients.
Use multi-part alternatives. These enable recipients to choose between text or HTML versions of your message, a critical option for those who receive messages on mobile devices.
Test, test, test! Testing in each email client is the best way to guarantee proper rendering.
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