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  1. #1
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    Html Email Design - what widths should you use?

    Hi,

    We want to design some email templates for the quotes we send to customers.

    I was wondering if there was any advise on the widths that you should design emails to - or is this just the sames as webpage design widths?

    Thanks for the help

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    Hi,

    I'm just getting into this myself. According to SitePoint's book on this, they suggest a width of 800px (like the old monitor standard). When people read these e-mails in their programs such as Windows Mail, it's a much smaller window than a regular 1024 x 768 monitor.

    Hope this helps!

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    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Zee View Post
    We want to design some email templates for the quotes we send to customers.

    I was wondering if there was any advise on the widths that you should design emails to - or is this just the sames as webpage design widths?
    Try these two Sitepoint articles: Code HTML email newsletters and Designers Guide to HTML email

    In terms of widths - remember that some people will be reading emails in a much narrower (and shorter) space than they will typically use to view web pages.

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    I wouldn't -- since I have all my servers set to auto-send HTML e-mails to the users trash... like a lot of hosts.

    HTML e-mail pretty much just screams "Hey look, I'm SPAM" - so I wouldn't be wasting my time (or bandwidth) on them in the first place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    I wouldn't -- since I have all my servers set to auto-send HTML e-mails to the users trash... like a lot of hosts.

    HTML e-mail pretty much just screams "Hey look, I'm SPAM" - so I wouldn't be wasting my time (or bandwidth) on them in the first place.
    And something else I'm finding out (I'm pretty new at this, too) even though the likes of Campaign monitor.com will test your HTML e-mail in various browsers, I'm still getting replies back from recipients, "your last e-mail was blank. There was nothing in it." Back to the drawing board for me!

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    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    I wouldn't -- since I have all my servers set to auto-send HTML e-mails to the users trash... like a lot of hosts.

    HTML e-mail pretty much just screams "Hey look, I'm SPAM" - so I wouldn't be wasting my time (or bandwidth) on them in the first place.
    That's a pretty extreme action, given the huge number of legitimate email newsletters that use HTML format.

    Ideally, you should offer people a choice of plain text or HTML when they sign up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    That's a pretty extreme action, given the huge number of legitimate email newsletters that use HTML format.
    NEVER seen one. But then I don't consider most "newsletters" legitimate traffic so... I hate that ****.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    NEVER seen one. But then I don't consider most "newsletters" legitimate traffic so... I hate that ****.
    You don't get the sitepoint ones then?

    Blanket blocking all html emails seems very backward - html has huge advantages when you are trying to present complex and visual information via email.

    If your blocking html emails because they may be spam, why don't you go the whole hog and just block all email and go back top pigeon post - that will ensure your nocking out 100% of spam.

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    SitePoint Guru team1504's Avatar
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    there is a nice sitepoint book on html email. I like it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Zee View Post
    html has huge advantages when you are trying to present complex and visual information via email.
    In other words crap I don't want in my e-mails. I've been using e-mail since back on fidonet, compuserve and genie - if you can't say it in plain text I probably don't give a ****.

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    SitePoint Guru team1504's Avatar
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    as a graphic designer I think a single picture is worth a million words and that although the take a while to load proper use of them is good; in fact, necessary sometimes.

    However, in the case of email, I am going to have to slightly agree with death shadow and say that email is better off in text alone. Slightly because DeathShadow seemed, with all due respect, quite firm on his position regarding graphic email.

    I just realised how disgusting, sorry if thats harsh, email with flash or animated GIFs would be.

    Anywho, if it i needs images or styling it should be a webpage or a pdf not an email and that what I think.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    In other words crap I don't want in my e-mails. I've been using e-mail since back on fidonet, compuserve and genie - if you can't say it in plain text I probably don't give a ****.
    It's fair enough if you want plain text only, but very backward looking if you are blocking it on all your servers you host.

    To assume everyone is like yourself and don't want html email is pretty niave, and to assume all html email is spam is plain rediculous.

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    SitePoint Evangelist Ed Seedhouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Zee View Post
    It's fair enough if you want plain text only, but very backward looking if you are blocking it on all your servers you host.
    Actually it is you who are backward looking. I'm not saying that you. personally, want to corrupt and destroy a perfectly good communications medium, all I'm saying is that if you in fact did want to do that, html in email is exactly the right way to do it.

    To assume everyone is like yourself and don't want html email is pretty niave, and to assume all html email is spam is plain rediculous.
    Judging from the html emails I get it's actually a good robust first order heuristic. If you want me to read a web page, give me a link to the web, thanks.
    Ed Seedhouse

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    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Seedhouse View Post
    If you want me to read a web page, give me a link to the web, thanks.
    You may prefer that, but the majority of people (who are not technophiles, and barely understand the difference between email and the web) are not going to. Every step you put in the way, such as requiring someone to click on a link, reduces the number of people who will see the page.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    You may prefer that, but the majority of people (who are not technophiles, and barely understand the difference between email and the web) are not going to. Every step you put in the way, such as requiring someone to click on a link, reduces the number of people who will see the page.
    ... and slow loading with usually broken layouts since not one e-mail client seems to render HTML e-mails like any other and the immediate kneejerk "hey look, and advertisement" isn't going to reduce the number of people who see the page?

    Or worse, annoy the ever living **** out of them?

    As Ed said, it's a damned good first order heuristic when it comes to blocking spam since the majority of people who send legitimate e-mails don't have the skills to even MAKE an HTML one!

  16. #16
    SitePoint Evangelist Ed Seedhouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    Every step you put in the way, such as requiring someone to click on a link, reduces the number of people who will see the page.
    And you think sending html to someone whose email reader doesn't know about html won't be a barrier to them? Or do you prefer just to pretend that those people don't still exist?

    Do you want to add html tags to your twitter tweets too? If not why not?
    Ed Seedhouse

  17. #17
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Seedhouse View Post
    And you think sending html to someone whose email reader doesn't know about html won't be a barrier to them? Or do you prefer just to pretend that those people don't still exist?
    As I said, before, if you had bothered to read what I'd written, anyone sending an HTML mailing should ask people whether they want to receive it in HTML or plain text format. If that isn't feasible, at the very least send it in multipart so that people whose mail clients can read HTML will do so, and those the can't will show the plain text version.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    ... and slow loading with usually broken layouts since not one e-mail client seems to render HTML e-mails like any other and the immediate kneejerk "hey look, and advertisement" isn't going to reduce the number of people who see the page?

    Or worse, annoy the ever living **** out of them?

    As Ed said, it's a damned good first order heuristic when it comes to blocking spam since the majority of people who send legitimate e-mails don't have the skills to even MAKE an HTML one!
    I think you are missing some very major points:

    1/. As in our case, there are companies that send information in html formatted email - at the SPECIFIC REQUEST of clients. Therefore blocking these at server level is doing something YOUR CUSTOMERS DO NOT WANT.

    2/. Spammers have only one thing in mind, to get the highest action rate per email sent. Therefore if you are saying the majority of spam emails use html, then why are they doing it? - Obviously html email is more effective at getting a desired action than non html email. Therefore this proves the point that html email is more effective in certain situations than non html email (whether for spamming or legitimate purposes). If people like yourself just block html emails, then this would reduce the effectivness of the spam, and the spammer is not stupid, so as soon as non html formatted email becomes more effective than html formatted email, they are just going to switch over to non html format. Actually if I check my spam emails which I get a huge amount of, I would say 90%+ is plain text to get round spam filters.

    since the majority of people who send legitimate e-mails don't have the skills to even MAKE an HTML one!
    3/. You are not seperating the "general public" from "companies" here. Agreed the general public don't know how to make html, but the majority of decent web savy companies of course do - which is why you will find the majority of newletters type emails from these companies are done in html format (again they are not doing this out of fun as they take much longer to make - they are doing it because they know it is more effective).

    And you think sending html to someone whose email reader doesn't know about html won't be a barrier to them? Or do you prefer just to pretend that those people don't still exist?
    4/. If you know what you are doing it is relatively easy to send a html email, that will render as a normal text email would in a non html email reader.

    5/. One of your points is that you should just provide a link to a webpage if you want html rendering. This ignores the fact that it is often the case that emals are often sent to companies which have a block ban on external links to any site not on their safe list. This makes any link useless, therefore there is a necessity to get that information in the email. Even if the customer can view the weblink, you are still putting an extra step in the process, which in any marketing is a number 1 rules to avoid.

  19. #19
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    since the majority of people who send legitimate e-mails don't have the skills to even MAKE an HTML one!
    Actually I'll take my agreement back "Agreed the general public don't know how to make html" - of course they do - all email edits have a very obvious select to swith between plain, rich text and html. So what you are saying is that most people who send legitimate emails don't have the skills to switch html mode, and never send in that mode? - That's plain rubbish and blows your arguement apart.


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