Once Again: That Preview Pane Must Adhere to Email Best Practices

Your eye as email rendering tool
Sometimes your eye is your best email rendering tool.

Can we ever say enough about the importance of the Preview Pane…and testing? Not yet! There are too many examples of email best practices being ignored, and ineffective Preview Panes are the result.

The biggest issue, seems to me, or should I say the most flagrant disregard of email best practices, is ignoring the significance of image blocking, especially on the Preview Pane. Jeanne Jennings gives us yet another example, comparing one version with the images on versus one version with the images blocked. Among the glitches that resulted:

 • The newsletter name disappeared.
• The headline disappeared.
• The navigation bar disappeared.
• The photo disappeared.

As she points out, what you’re left with is a Preview Pane that does nothing to get the recipient to open and engage with the email. What a waste of effort that is, to adhere to all the email best practices that get you into the inbox, then not take the next step to get that email opened and acted upon.

Note: I wasn’t surprised by this Preview Pane, because I pay a lot of attention to who is following best practices for email marketing (and who isn’t) in my own inbox. But there was one element that surprised me: the navigation bar. In the USA Today email, the navigation bar must have been an image too, because it doesn’t show up in the images blocked version. That struck me as especially odd, for some reason…

Take a quick look at Jeanne’s comparison and then go do a quick review of your own Preview Pane. Are you designing for blocked image? Or ignoring some of these best practices for email marketing?

And remember: Sometimes your best email rendering tool is your eyes! See what it looks like yourself, with images blocked!