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Formatting the plain text message part in mass e-mail October 27, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Formatting the plain text message part in mass e-mail October 27, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Formatting the plain text message part in mass e-mail October 27, 2009

2 Why use HTML? “Good HTML creates branded, usable and attractive email messages that convert better overall than plain text.” -Lyris HQ

3 Why is plain text important? Recipient preferences Some e-mail applications render plain text by default –GopherMail Some clients don’t render HTML –Personal preference for a client –Some mobile devices Images aren’t accessible

4 Plain text vs. HTML Plain text has no images Text can’t be linked to a Web page; links are displayed in full The plain text content may be written very differently than the HTML portion

5 Example: HTML

6 Example: plain text Cropped Text is one line per paragraph

7 Example: Lyris HQ HTML

8 Example: Lyris HQ plain text

9 Plain text in Lyris ListManager Lyris has an HTML to text function This scrapes the content of the HTML part for text This provides an OK starting point

10 HTML to text: image handling Images are dropped entirely Content in image form needs to be –changed to text –dropped entirely Images with text aren’t accessible to begin with. What happens if someone using a screen reader runs across a content-heavy image with no alt tag?

11 HTML to text: URL handling Inserted in line with text Wrapped in <> GopherMail doesn’t auto-link URLs wrapped in <> –GopherMail is huge for students Generally ugly

12 URL handling example “The press release includes a link to the University of Minnesota’spress release Imagine Fund Web site.”Imagine Fund Web site becomes “The press release includes a link to the University of Minnesota’s Imagine Fund Web site."

13 HTML to text: line wrapping Lines are wrapped at 70 characters Some clients may wrap at less than 70, producing something akin to Here’s one line that’s too long and will get wrapped over. But that’s not a problem is you’re aesthetically vacant.

14 How do we handle plain text? At a minimum, clean it up –Remove <> from URLs –unwrap lines A bit more –Develop a consistent format –Rewrite text to allow better placement of URLs

15 Tips & tricks Provide your HTML content on Web (always) and link to it from the text part Use display:none; as an inline style on image replacement copy Use a content management system to repurpose content into HTML and text parts

16 Link to HTML on the Web Make the link to the HTML version the first item readers see Put the content on your Web site, not just in the Lyris archive The School of Public Health (Mark Engebretson) does this for “The Weekly SPHere” –Roughly half of unique clickthroughs for SPHere are attributable to this link

17 SPHere HTML part

18 SPHere text part (cropped)

19 SPHere Web version

20 Use the display:none; style Pete Riemenschneider in the Institute of Technology pointed this trick out Lyris won’t copy image alt tags to text Lyris will copy text in hidden paragraphs/cells/etc. Useful for templates with content that will be in a consistent location

21 ITSS Announcements HTML

22 ITSS Announcements Text

23 Repurposing in a CMS Content elements are split out Formatting should be very consistent Different layouts/renderings are created for each part

24 News Wire on the Web

25 News Wire HTML (header and footer in Lyris template)

26 News Wire text (header and footer in Lyris template)

27 Other tips & tricks What are you doing?

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