Most common browsers and email clients support HTML email and many are often setup to receive and display HTML email if it arrives.  Unlink Plain-Text, HTML supports formatting the text and inclusion of images.  However, many email clients are set to hide images by default, and click-through links are also often not enabled.

In general, contacts do not change their email client settings unless prompted.  They can often choose to enable the content for that email only, for all messages from a particular sender only, or for all email that has images.   The following suggestions will improve viewing of your HTML content:

  • If your content is image heavy, include enough textual content in your Subject Line and Message to give the contact a reason to display the images. 
  • Specify the image size in the image tag.
  • Define descriptive Alt Text (alt="text") and Title Text (title="title") for your images.  In many email clients, this text will render in the HTML message even if the image does not. It will help the contact understand what the images are and sometimes peak their curiosity to display the images.
  • Use an HTML verification tool to check your HTML for proper syntax.  Use an Internet Search engine and search for 'HTML Validator' or 'Markup Validation'.
  • Use inline style tags.  Some email clients do not support HTML style sheets.

Many browsers will strip items from your email message before it is delivered to the contact, so it is best to avoid the following:

  • Scripts, including JavaScript, VBScript, and Perl
  • Embedded objects, such as Flash and Java Applets
  • ActiveX
  • Audio or Video
  • Framesets
  • External Style Sheets

HTML email does not support embedded Flash.  If you would like your contacts to see a flash animation, host the flash file and then include a link to the file in your content.  If you are attempting to create a sense of dynamic content, use animated GIFs. Animated GIFs work in most email clients and many tools are available to create them.

Some email clients do not support forms.  For example, you may wish to include a Poll, Sign-Up form, or FTAF form in your content.  Consider your recipients carefully, test your campaign in all browsers, and provide a Display Message link for those contacts who can not access the form directly through the message.  

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