Adventures in Mobile Marketing

Letters: Testing My HTML Newsletter

Dear Anna,

I need to test my new, swanky HTML newsletter, but I don’t have different computers to install each operating system, get email accounts, install all of the different browsers, all so that I can test on every combination. Is there a service out there to help me do the final testing?

Testing in the Dark

Dear Testing,
Good news, there are a couple of email service provider companies that have this kind of thumbnail preview: Inbox Inspector (MailChimp), design testing (Campaign Monitor), and my former client used ReturnPath’s Design Preview. As for a free service, it’s not available, I believe. The best way is the hard way: setup accounts in various webmail accounts that you care about, just to make sure they work.

This is a tough issue, which is why the Email Standards Project is so vital. If you’re doing complex HTML emails you could quickly go down a geeky vortex trying to get it just right in each browser. The thing to do is to follow best practice guidelines so that it fails gracefully in the less used email/browser conditions.Also, know your subscriber list and work on the big email players (basically don’t sweat the small stuff- but design it so everyone can see it basically).

A set of tests that I do for webmail accounts, because they are the most stringent test combinations:
PC, IE 6,7, Gmail/Yahoo
PC, Outlook’s webmail (web access client)
PC, AOL Webmail

Mac OSX/Firefox/Gmail/Yahoo
Mac OS X/Safari/Gmail/Yahoo
Mac OS X/ AOL webmail

That test suite will get the tough ones- Gmail is one of the strictest, and if you don’t care about Lotus Notes, there you go. It’s worth setting up a free AOL web account.

I setup a template a year ago, and tested across that suite above, to note the best practices for cross-browser/mail design. Check it out: “Designing Web Emails,” and the resource list is good too, at the end of that post.

Other Resources:
Email Marketing Reports’ Testing resources list
Email Standards Project

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Written on Monday, 09. June 2008 at 17:46 In the category design, letters. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Share on FriendFeed

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1 Comment

  1. Acutally, some colleagues and peers of mine have recommended this – check out for a free version… or a nominal fee for more than just Outlook and GMail testing

    Comment: Joe – 23. June 2008 @ 4:35 am

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