When email clients change support without warning, your brand reputation and customer experience are at risk.
New email clients, operating systems, and reading environments from Outlook 2019 and new iPhones to the introduction of Apple’s Dark Mode and the rise of voice assistants require you to check for compatibility.
In September, Microsoft released Outlook 2019, a new version of its popular desktop client. Outlook 2019 doesn’t come with any major surprises for for email marketers. Although Outlook 2019 is a new release, it largely implements some of the features that have been in use in Office 365 subscriptions. The major rendering changes are actually great for email marketers.
Apple’s New iPhones
Apple released new iPhones and a new version of iOS. It’s important to track any changes in iOS that can affect email access and rendering because iOS Mail is the No. 1 email client.
Apple’s September release introduced three new iPhones: the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR. With a screen size of 5.8 inches, the iPhone XS uses the same screen display dimensions as its predecessor. Resolution, pixel density, and pixel density ratio are also identical.
The iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR featue larger screens. The iPhone XS Max is the largest iPhone with a 6.5 inch screen and a resolution of 2,688 x 1,242 pixels. The iPhone XR has a 6.1 inch display, with a lower pixel density.
Poster Attribute Required To Display HTML5 Videos
iOS 12 supports HTML5 video, but there is still a known bug from iOS 11. A preview image of your video will display only if you add a poster attribute. You must define a poster image, or your video will appear as blank.
Apple Introduces ‘Dark Mode’ In MacOS Mojave
Apple’s 15th release of its desktop operating system, macOS Mojave, comes with a prominent new feature: Dark Mode. It uses a darker color palette for all windows, views, menus, and controls.
This makes the interface more suitable for work at night or in low-light environments. Users can set Dark Mode as their default interface style or automatically switch between Light and Dark Mode depending on the time of day.
Dark Mode provides a dark theme for all major apps, including Apple Mail.
Brightly colored email backgrounds can create a jarring experience for readers in Dark Mode. Email designers must rely on alternative techniques to make emails look great in Dark Mode.
Google Launches Gmail Go
Google made another addition to its Go line of lightweight apps for emerging markets with the introduction of Gmail Go. Gmail Go is a stripped-down, lightweight version of Gmail. It’s a similar experience to existing Gmail apps and will initially only be used by a very small percentage of users. Learn more about the implications of this streamlined version of Gmail on Litmus Email Design Podcast #96: Litmus Research, Google News, and Image Caching in Yahoo! Mail.
‘Alexa, Read My Email’
In December 2018, Amazon released an update to its Alexa voice assistant, giving it the ability to read, reply, archive, or delete emails. Alexa will read the sender name, subject line, and text in an HTML email. It can read emojis but will ignore images and HTML attributes like alt text or ARIA. What you can’t do with Alexa (yet): mark email as spam, unsubscribe or compose a new email. For now, the new functions only work in Outlook and Gmail. To use these updated email functions, you must install the updated Alexa app (for iOS or Android).
Email Client Updates
- Google announces native support for AMP for Gmail
- Gmail launches a new interface
- Roboto and Google Sans web fonts supported
- Gmail updates the Promotions tab
Yahoo! Mail Updates
- Yahoo! Mail introduces image caching
- Yahoo! Mail introduces reminders and list-unsubscribe
- Outlook introduces verified icons for business
- Outlook.com updates media query support and improves accessibility
Spam Laws, Email Security, and Privacy News
Data security and privacy were top topics affecting email marketers in 2018. Big changes occurred including the sweeping new GDPR privacy laws in the European Union, the elimination of net neutrality in the United States, and a major new consumer privacy act in California which may lead to the passage of a US version of GDPR.
Here are some highlights from activity on the security and privacy area:
- The European Union’s General Data and Privacy Regulation Went Into Effect
- Denmark Ordered Email Encryption
- The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Voted To Kill “Net Neutrality”
- California enacts the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
- Brazilian President Michel Temer Signed New General Data Privacy Law
- Fighting Fraudulent Email: Deployment of Brand Indicators For Message Identification (BIMI) Begins
The 2019 State Of Email Report is another valuable guide to helping small businesses create, send, and track marketing emails. Check it out and use the information it contains to make your email marketing campaigns better. Get the report.