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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Free Internet Marketing Tip 108

Users don't want Word rendering their HTML in Outlook anymore!

Even though Microsoft's Outlook is viewed as the standard email client, it has some problems. Specifically, Outlook doesn't render HTML correctly, which drives designers insane.

So what is Microsoft doing about the problem for the upcoming release of Outlook 2010? One word, nothing. Sigh, you're killing us Bill.

Do you wish Microsoft would use IE to render HTML in Outlook 2010? Tell us.

Microsoft has confirmed that they plan to continue using the Word rendering engine to display HTML in Outlook 2010. (Please keep in mind that EVERY OTHER email client currently used anywhere uses a web browser to render HTML.)

For those of you asking, "What's the big deal?" Remember Outlook 2000? It used Internet Explorer to render HTML. To help jog your memory, check out the image below from the Email Standards Project.

Outlook 2000 & 2010 comparison

Based on the image above, it looks like Outlook is NOT evolving with the web - they're de-evolving.

The ESP have put together a very well designed website entitled Outlook's broken - Let's fix it. The site is really quite nice, it consists of a rolling wall of tweets, which shows the design community's real-time response to Microsoft's continuing stance on HTML rendering in Outlook 2010.

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At the time of this writing 21,107 have joined the cause, and it's growing very rapidly.

Outlook is broken - Let's fix it.

Below is the site's description of their cause...

Microsoft have confirmed they plan on using the Word rendering engine to display HTML emails in Outlook 2010.

This means for the next 5 years your email designs will need tables for layout, have no support for CSS like float and position, no background images and lots more.

Outlook 2010 is still in beta and Microsoft wants your feedback. It's time to rally together and encourage Microsoft to embrace web standards before it's too late.

Let's use Twitter to send a clear message to Microsoft.

Join 21,107 others asking Microsoft to improve standards support and make sure you include in your tweet. We'll pull together every tweet that includes the link here to give Microsoft a unified message from the community.

Microsoft has become aware of the Twitter campaign, and "appreciates the feedback". William Kennedy, Corporate Vice President, Office Communications and Forms Team, addresses the issue in a post on the Outlook Team Blog...

"Microsoft welcomes the development of broadly-adopted e-mail standards. We understand that e-mail is about interoperability among various e-mail programs, and we believe that Outlook provides a good mix of a rich user experience and solid interoperability with a wide variety of other e-mail programs. There is no widely-recognized consensus in the industry about what subset of HTML is appropriate for use in e-mail for interoperability. The "Email Standards Project" does not represent a sanctioned standard or an industry consensus in this area. Should such a consensus arise, we will of course work with other e-mail vendors to provide rich support in our products. We are constantly working to improve our products and the experience that they give to our customers."

Microsoft sees and hears complaints... but still has no plans of fixing the HTML rendering problem at this time.

To add your input on the Outlook situation, simply click the button below, or have the in your tweet.

Le'ts fix Outlook button

Microsoft has no foreseeable plans to fix the HTML rendering issues with Outlook. Will this cause you to switch to an alternate email client, if you haven't already? Leave a comment.
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About the Author:
Jeremy Muncy has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @jmuncy.

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