Tuesday, March 11, 2008

E-Newsletters: Making Your Code Uniform (Relatively)

To make your organization’s simple HTML e-newsletter appear (relatively) alike across platforms, one tip from the experts: code like it’s 1999. This means:
  • Decide which email clients are a priority. One expert prioritizes Outlook, Thunderbird, Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail, and recommends against prioritizing Lotus unless your organization uses it (“It’s a pain in the neck to standardize.”). Set up email accounts with each of the email clients to test your email.
  • Also for seamlessness, use tables for layout, not cascading style sheets, or CSS. Many email clients don’t understand CSS.
  • Again, don’t depend on CSS. Use inline styles. This means going back to the old-school style of formatting: putting tags for color, font, decoration, margins, etc., directly on links, paragraphs and images. (Example: a style="text-decoration:none; color:#00ff00; font:Arial".) According to one expert, you can put styles into the header, but make sure to define them in the body of the email as well.
  • Don’t use Javascript, Flash, video or anything a 1999 Web browser couldn’t handle.

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