[thelist] Newsletter as HTML Email

Steven Streight steven.streight at gmail.com
Wed Jan 31 20:36:14 CST 2007

Hassan: I believe you.

It's just a hot topic right now for my clients, how well they really
understand their customers and audience. Many companies, huge and tiny,
simply assume what user behavior, attitudes, and goals are. I am not meaning
to doubt what you are doing.

I'm studying the use of Personas and so am getting rather deeply into user
behavior profiles based on research.


Max: You are correct, as far as I know, that users have to configure their
ema clientl to not accept HTML email.

As far as "all major organizations using....", have you thrown away any junk
mail lately? Major corporations still send out poorly designed/written
shotgun mailings to people who don't want it.

I won't dive too deeply into how dysfunctional are the web sites of many
major organizations. Forms that are broken, no contact form, poor About
pages, no list of staff, pseudo-redundant links, lousy Site Search
functionalities, etc.

That's why we have jobs, to fix the mistakes and move these clients and
employees to a higher level of interactive operability, rich internet
applications, multi-media, etc.

How many major organizations are using YouTube to promote themselves,
entertain and educate?

Etc, etc.

The "major organizations" reasoning falls a bit flat to my ears, no offense.
User observation testing is still rather less than universally done. I'm
actually trying to sort of pioneer the usabilty testing of APIs, for

Having said all this, I know that my own sites have their annoying
imperfections, too! Working on it...heh.


On 1/31/07, Max Schwanekamp <lists at neptunewebworks.com> wrote:
> Steven Streight wrote:
> > Hassan, how well do you really know your audience? It's not that the
> > audience fears HTML email and the viruses that can be contained within
> them,
> > it's more that certain email clients will reject HTML email via
> filtering.
> Which email clients, by default, will automatically filter HTML email?
> External images get hidden by default in, e.g. Thunderbird and Outlook
> 2003+, but the message is still there, and one click allows the images
> to be loaded if the user so desires.  I've never heard of a mainstream
> email client automatically filtering HTML email without the user
> explicitly setting up a filter/option to do that.
> Further, why is it that nearly all major organizations (commercial and
> otherwise) use HTML email for marketing purposes?  I'd have a hard time
> believing that eBay, for example, has done zero testing on the
> effectiveness of their marketing efforts.
> I'm not arguing that HTML email newsletters are the better option, but I
>   entirely agree with Hassan to get real -- HTML email is
> better-supported by the majority of end-users, and thus should *not* be
> dismissed in favor of RSS, which is gaining, but slowly[0].
> [0] Outlook 2007's retrograde step to use Word's HTML renderer may
> actually speed up the adoption of RSS.
> --
> Max Schwanekamp
> NeptuneWebworks.com
> 541-255-2171
> --
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Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate
Web Usability. Blog Revolution. Ecommerce.


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