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HTML email templates [Mar. 23rd, 2009|12:29 pm]
[Current Mood |curiouscurious]

Know much about designing them? I think I've made a bad one. Text only email clients are hacking mine apart. Have you made one before? Any advice for me?
And soon? A Phost.

Oh, is there any way to detect if a client wants Text Only and send them that instead, or do you just let it mangle your HTML?

[User Picture]From: starrynytes4me
2009-03-23 10:15 pm (UTC)
All of these HTML issues remind me of why I love PDF so much. :)
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[User Picture]From: courtly
2009-03-23 10:20 pm (UTC)
I would agree. I have always loved the idea behind PDF.

In the final sum, "fancy" HTML email is probably going to leave behind your text-only users. So if the intent really is widest-possible distribution you either need to:

a) get a more sophisticated mailer, and create good text and HTML content,

b) stick to less-fancy layouts where the HTML content is still mostly textual, letting Outlook create your text-only version from that,

c) poll your email contacts for which format they'd prefer to receive and conduct two mailings, or

d) accept that you're deliberately leaving behind some contacts.
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[User Picture]From: starrynytes4me
2009-03-23 10:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this! I'm actually working with a partner and kind of laid out these options for them. I added in a "view PDF" link to both the website AND the email thinking that was a nice compromise and a simplified the HTML as much as I could from the total mess it was but I think in this case option D is the real best choice for now.

I like the idea of investing more in the web experience and having the email be JUST text with a text only outline and a link to the webpage which also has the PDF link in it. While this approach is decidedly more googley off me, I just think it's the best compromise, but I think the person I'm working with may go for choice D. Long term I think detecting what the client has and presenting the right info for them is the smartest design, and this seems to be an issue that all those who distribute formatted text and image content must still struggle with to some extent when control over the client is non-existent.
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[User Picture]From: courtly
2009-03-24 01:17 pm (UTC)
It absolutely is an issue... at least with web you're told the browser version when they ask for the webpage.

With email, you have no way to know anything about how they receive it... it's "fire and forget". Makes the whole job of tailoring your content very difficult.

As a side-tip, if you want to study how other companies do it, you'll need to examine their emails with something that lets you look at the full raw source of the incoming email, multiple MIME parts and all. I don't recall offhand if Outlook really does that, or if it just shows you headers and the source of the MIME component it decided was your text.
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