However as HTML 5 starts to be supported by email clients and web browsers, it opens up the doors for a much richer experience for the user, and allows marketers to experiment with things like scrolling product boxes, and video & audio with controls.
Recently different email client providers have been moving towards supporting this type of technology, particularly webmail clients, who have been adding HTML 5 doctypes to their pages (this was behind the recent Gmail/Firefox issue). This week’s announcement by Yahoo Mail builds on that – as they’ve just announced a beta version of their new HTML 5 Mobile Webmail for iPhone and iPod touch.
If you’re on an iPhone or iPod touch, you can access the new beta by visiting http://m.yahoo.com/mail and tapping on ‘Preview the new Yahoo! Mail’.
Looking at the beta on an iPhone 4 really shows what HTML 5 is capable of, and where email clients are going – it’s exciting!
Above: this is the inbox view – you can see a carousel of photo thumbnails, which have been rotated and had a drop shadow added. You can gesture left and right to scroll through photos. These are custom published, so these are from my friends on flickr.
Below: Here’s what’s really clever – when you click/thumb an image it opens into a nice lightbox style preview:
Trade tool and hardware supplier Screwfix have a cheeky offer in their latest email – I’m not sure if this is intentional or not, but it’d definitely boost open rates!
Elsewhere there’s lots of good stuff going on – they’ve got an effective email pre-header, a well formed navigation and buttons that drive to their social media activity.
Update – it was intentional, good work guys!
This recent email from UK travel agent STA Travel shows that designers shouldn’t be afraid to make use of the page background in email. Whilst the overall width of this campaign sticks to a best practice 600px, some clever coding with tables means that the hero image breaks out into the background area if there’s enough screen space available.
Clever innovations like this really help add value for those users that see them, and, if care is taken, can be made to degrade gracefully so they don’t negatively affect those users with smaller screens or less able browsers.
I know we talk a lot about best practice and not doing all-image emails, but sometimes it’s innovative to go against the rules and do something special. Like this promo email for a new 14 storey high water slide at Brazilian water park Beach Park. It weighs in at a hefty megabyte, and it’s 12,000 pixels high, but it works.
For best effect hold your scrollwheel and drag down..
Spotted on AdFreak.