Sunday, August 30, 2009

Guide to CSS in Email ↦

Campaign Monitor has updated its guide to CSS support in email clients:

Designing an HTML email that renders consistently across the major email clients can be very time consuming. Support for even simple CSS varies considerably between clients, and even different versions of the same client.

With all of the improved standards support in FireFox, Safari, Chrome and even (to some extent) Internet Explorer, it’s easy to forget just how woefully behind email clients can be, especially web-based clients. Chris Clark sums it all up rather neatly:

  1. Modern desktop and mobile email clients are practically the same as modern web browsers.
  2. Gmail and other webmail clients are practically the same as web browsers circa 1993.
  3. Enjoy your fucking <table> tags. And remember most webmail clients don’t load images by default, either.

Of course, I can’t help but think that it was perhaps a mistake to shoehorn HTML into email in the first place. No, that doesn’t mean I think all email messages should be plain text. Rather, I think that email should have its own simpler, saner rich-text format, backed up by some standards organization. Failing that, I think the technology industry needs to at least decide on a standard way to adapt HTML for use in emails.