In the 70th episode of The Email Design Podcast, Kevin Mandeville and Jason Rodriguez answer recent questions from the Litmus Community in a rapid fire format, including topics on incorporating plain text versions, using fractional pixel values, external stylesheet support, and more. Be sure to follow along and join in the discussion on Twitter using #EmailDesignPodcast.
(0:34) Is it possible to code plain text versions into an HTML email? No, plain text versions of an email are a separate MIME type that will be handled by your email service provider you use to send your emails. You can learn about plain text best practices here.
(3:36) Can you use fractional pixels in email? Though potentially not supported or rendered the same in all clients, the overwhelmingly vast majority of email clients will support fractional pixel values.
(5:38) Why isn’t my ALT text visible? If you ALT text length exceeds the visible width of an image, the ALT text will appear as blank. Be sure to reduce the font size in order to fit the ALT text in the width of the image. Alternatively, you could splice up the image and separate the ALT text across multiple images. Learn more about ALT text best practices here.
(10:02) Can you use external stylesheets in email? Though not supported everywhere, you can use external stylesheets in email—58% of the market supports them. External stylesheets are mostly supported by desktop and mobile email clients and unsupported by webmail clients. We’ve used external stylesheets in some emails to pull off cool effects like a live Twitter feed.
(12:42) Can you target the Gmail app only for iOS—not including Android? There is no bulletproof way of distinguishing between the Gmail app on iOS and Android using CSS. The best solution is to use PHP server-side detection to serve up separate content between the two.
(14:55) Why is iOS 10 auto-scaling my email? iOS 10 has some weird auto-scaling behavior which can typically be solved by setting a padding: 0; on the body and adding <meta name=”x-apple-disable-message-reformatting”> inside the head. Learn more about this behavior and other iOS 10 quirks here.
(18:57) Can you use print styles in email? You can include specific print styles in an HTML email, however many email clients won’t support that native functionality—typically only desktop email clients would support it. It can be useful for users who view the web version of the email.