HTML and Plain Text

I am somewhat of a geek. I work in a technical industry, I use a computer all the time, I know how to fix computers, I know how to create and edit fairly good web sites, I can use advanced programs on the computer, and so on.

However, for some things, I very behind. One such thing is email. Let me explain. For my email account where I get a lot of email, I use a normal email program. However, for my personal email (where I get a semi-decent amount of email), I use a very simple web-based email program. It is plain text and does not support HTML email very well.

So what type of emails does your company send? HTML or plain text? Do you give an option? Here are some things you can do to help people like me:

  • On your email preferences page (or signup section), ask: HTML or plain text email?
  • Include a link to the email in HTML version at the top of your emails. This is a popular option for newsletters and things where the content is the same for everyone (i. e. news headlines).
  • Test HTML emails and try to get them to work with as many email programs, formats, etc.
  • Include a few questions related to email preferences in your next survey.

Then, as usual, act on the information you find out and work towards implementing it.

There is a similar thing when it comes to browser and operating system types. Testing for different browsers and operating systems is important. Having different versions for different browsers is sometimes done (if not, there are usually code tweaks).

The point is to make it so everyone can have the best possible experience without having to go out of their way to do something else (like use another browser or email client).

One Response to “HTML and Plain Text”

  1. KermitFan said:

    Jan 26, 07 at 5:57 pm

    Agreed. I happen to be in marketing in the high tech industry. Both my current and past companies used e-mail distribution software that was able to detect whether our recipients were viewing HTML or plain text e-mails and delivering the appropriate version. It was an absolute blessing for us, as we received an outpouring of accolades from our customers and prospects alike for the change. Now, our plain-text friends could read and appreciate our e-mail messages instead of getting less-than desirable spaghetti-code e-mails.