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singapore-business-database

Before You Use a Background Image… Revisited

I recently had a customer come to me asking how he could do away with the “click button to display images” prompt.

The customer was sending out an email and as you know, most, if not all, email programs these days block images by default. He was looking for a way to bypass this and have the images appear automatically. Specifically, he asked if this could be done via the use of background images.

To his dismay, I informed him that background images would also fall victim to this block and in addition, that the use of background images is something that should be avoided altogether.

Seeing as the background images issue is something we haven’t covered in some time, I thought it worthy of a revisit. So here’s a quick cheat sheet on how background images will render in various email clients.

Standard Background Coding

  • Outlook 2010 - Does Not Work
  • Outlook 2007 - Does Not Work
  • Outlook 2003 - Does Not Work
  • Thunderbird 3.1.2 - Works
  • Hotmail - Works
  • Gmail - Works
  • Yahoo - Works

Inline CSS Background coding

  • Outlook 2010 - Does Not Work
  • Outlook 2007 - Does Not Work
  • Outlook 2003 - Does Not Work
  • Thunderbird 3.1.2 - Works
  • Hotmail - Does Not Work
  • Gmail - Does Not Work
  • Yahoo - Works

As you can see, background images do work for quite a few email clients. However, the ones they do not work for, Outlook, take up the lion’s share of the corporate email market. (I’ve heard of estimates as high as 85%.)

With that being said, it would only make sense to refrain from using background images. Otherwise, you risk sending out a message that’s lost much of its visual impact.

When creating an HTML email message, we’re aiming for the lowest common denominator. We want a message that renders well across multiple clients. So unless you’re certain your clients are not using Outlook, the use of background images is a no-go.