Gmail to support responsive email design


Google have announced a raft of improvements to Gmail’s email rendering capabilities, including support for responsive design via CSS stylesheets and media query modules. The updates will allow email marketers greater and easier control over the way their emails appear to recipients who are using Gmail.

Announcing the changes via their Apps Developer Blog, Google stated:

“Later this month, you’ll be able to use CSS media queries with Gmail to ensure that your message is formatted the way you intended, whether it’s viewed on a computer, a phone in portrait mode, or a tablet in landscape mode. You’ll be able to change styles based on width, rotation, and resolution, allowing for more responsive formatting to optimize your email for every device.”

Another change will see CSS support documented in an online reference archive. Google’s other email services, Inbox and Google Apps, will be subject to all the same changes being applied to Gmail.

For the uninitiated: CSS media queries are CSS3 modules which allow developers to specify how the elements of an email (or webpage) should act and appear, based on variables including screen width, resolution and device resolution. In practice, this allows the designer to create content that adapts to suit the device used to view it, and the way that device is used – whether that’s a laptop, a smartphone or a tablet, in either portrait or landscape view.

Action it!

With responsive design support slated for rollout by the end of this month, digital marketers who wish to get ahead of the pack will now have a short window of time in which to prepare their first responsive email experiments targeting Gmail users.

If you’re an email marketer hoping to make the most of responsive emails your first step should be to brief the web designers on your dev team to create some responsive email template mock-ups for a range of screen sizes and orientations. It may take some trial-and-error to identify the responsive email features that work best for your audience, so we would recommend running some A/B tests as you go.

With Gmail finally on-board, it can only be a matter of time until responsive marketing emails become the industry standard. Make the effort to master them now and you’ll reap the rewards later.

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