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Posts Tagged ‘email rendering’

Looks like Comcast subscribers to DSW’s email program have had some issues getting to their site.

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The peculiarities of HTML email design can flummox the best of us. Even a brand as design-savvy as Adobe.

Here’s an email I received from them advertising a whitepaper on customer loyalty:

Adobe Scene7 Email

The content layout isn’t bad. In fact, I like it on the whole:

  • The design is simple and doesn’t get in the way of the content.
  • Everything that should be clickable, is.
  • The preheader provides a link to view online.
  • The content is short and to the point.

The only problem is that gigantic white space between the end of the “box” and the “Reply” and “Forward” buttons in my Gmail account.

Notice Anything Missing?

Like maybe an unsubscribe link or a postal address?

A little click-and-drag with the mouse reveals the culprit:

Adobe Scene7 Email Highlighted

White text on a white background! (Wonder if the whitepaper talks about that? 😉 After all, white-on-white is a pretty poor customer experience.)

A look at the HTML reveals that Adobe expected their email to have a grey (#999999) background.

Unfortunately, they only applied that background color to the <body> tag – they didn’t apply it to the appropriate table or cells in the email.

5 Minutes’ Work Could Have Avoided This. Test, Test, Test!

That’s how long it would have taken Adobe to send test copies of this email to test addresses at the major webmail ISPs as well as a couple that they could have checked with popular desktop software.

Considering the resources Adobe has at their disposal, and their relatively savvy audience, this is a pretty poor showing on their part.

Need more convincing that testing matters? Here goes: you could make the case that this email isn’t even CAN-SPAM compliant, given that the requisite address and unsubscribe link are hidden. Yes, they’re there, and yes, it was an accident that they were hidden, but even so… you could make the case.

On top of that, you have to wonder what the complaint rate was like on this email, seeing as there was no unsubscribe option in the message.

If you’re going to put any time at all into your emails, don’t let it go to waste by cutting the corner on testing. It’s very little work to avoid a lot of problems.

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