[We work] with email client developers and the design community to improve web standards support and accessibility in email.
It’s fair to say that a large chunk of the web industry now understands the importance of standards; from browser makers to designer/developers, we’ve taken on board the years of evangelising by early adopters and in turn it informs everything we do (I sincerely hope I’m speaking for the majority here).
But there’s one area of web development where standards break down; where we place elements where they’re not supposed to go, where we (whisper it) use tables for layout. Not because we want to, but because we have to. That area is, of course, HTML emails.
So I’m very pleased to read about the formation of the Email Standards Project, an effort to liaise with the community in establishing a baseline set of CSS declarations, allowing us to create, with the minimum of hassle, the newsletters that clients love.
A quick look at the current level of standards in email clients tells us why we need them: some of the most popular clients have poor support, and they make up a majority of the market. Just like with browsers, that’s not acceptable. An email client should support plain text and/or standards-compliant HTML & CSS, but the halfway mish-mash that exists in many is unacceptable.
I urge you to get behind this campaign, if not for your own sake, then for mine; if I have to keep creating table-based layouts, I may just cry.