Great post! E-mail design is such a pain! I would rather go back to plain text for emails!

Can you post your layouts that you created? They would be an excellent addition to this post!

Great post.

Something else concerning email previews and worth considering for your email campaign’s first impression is Outlook’s AutoPreview.

This is the small preview of text that is extracted from the beginning of the email when this feature is turned on. It is also present in Gmail next to the subject line (a client which has become popular among businesses moving to Google Apps). Again, it’s important to know what email clients your subscribers are using and prepare accordingly.

Alt text for a strategically placed image at the top of your email can be used for this AutoPreview, which can read better than the text that usually appears at the top of your campaign, such as a link to a web version or a permission reminder statement.

More about AutoPreviews can be read here:

Newsletter design are great pain the A–, different browsers render differently, majority of users use outlook as primary, which uses IE engine to render. When we design custom layouts it’s very difficult to maintain consistency, though.

Outlook actually uses the Microsoft Word engine to render email, not IE.

Great point! And thanks for the link. That’s a clever idea to use a leading 1×1 image to serve alt text to AutoPreview/Gmail. Whenever I see a hack like that I immediately think about spam filters but this one seems safe.

Indeed they are a pain. BTW, you’re right that Outlook 2003 uses the IE rendering engine but as Paul said, Outlook 2007 actually uses the engine from Word.

Great article Rob. I’m actually the author of the MicroMass Communications study you mentioned in your article, thanks for the feedback. :)

Excellent job with that paper! I really enjoyed reading it. Let me know if there’s a better URL I should use to link to it. (btw, I added your name to the post. sorry, should have included that from the beginning. =)

Ernest Salazar

Great post. I’m redesigning some templates right now, and this will help a great deal with explaining some of my changes.

Great post! This is a tough concept to explain but you’ve done a great job.

If you want to see how your email will look in clients I suggest checking out Email on Acid (https://www.emailonacid.com). They show you how your email will look in 16 different clients. It has saved me a TON of time when designing HTML emails for my clients.