Gregs reasons to NOT send images in the email body
Are you ready for my geeky-not-what-you-want-to-hear explanation?
- Email was never designed to have images. Email programs have “retrofitted” them.
- They increase the size if each message, sometimes 4-10x and more! When you are talking about a single signature that is 20k, that is 5-6x larger message size than what the message would be without it. And when you load your mail server with thousands and thousands of those, that can mean the difference of a slow or fast server. The difference is in mailbox size, scanning time, transfer and process time, database storage, backup time and space, and sending/receiving time. All being 5,6,10 times more than what they could be, just because you have a logo.
- More and more people have images blocked by their email client.
- More and more mail server scanners (for spam and viruses) strip out the images and HTML formatting because of security reasons. (because spam and viruses link images and HTML code to outside sources, loading things you don’t want in your system, and also verifying you exist and can receive more spam!) Which completely disallows the users ability to see the intended publication, which make the message sometimes appear out of order or jumbled around, completely obscuring the message. (which is only in text in the first place)
- Email client programs can have any possible screen width for the message, making it impossible to correctly format a background and graphical body so that it looks correct for all users. This is way tougher than doing doing web pages, because at least on the web, you design for 800×600 screen size and larger. But email programs can be resized, and sometime very small.
- Relating to the last itemâ€¦ When you design a template for sending messages in HTML (so you can have images) you are limited to the design capability of the email program. Not everyone has the same email program, and therefore the formatting will most likely be rendered incorrectly. (meaning, it’s not very portable, unlike PDF’s.)
Ok, so that’s all, as far as I know, factual, technical reasons to not use images in email. With that knowledge, it is my *technical* advice to not use them in the message body. On the other hand, they do make the message more attractive (usually). And they can help to “brand” the message. I can surely understand that.
Email is all about the *message* you want to deliver. And what you say is in the typed text. I have all my images blocked on my programs, so I can cut through the mumbo jumbo and read the actual message in my small preview pane. To me, it’s more professional to keep your message body as text, and attach any images you want to share. (including PDF invoices, with images on the invoice itself) And, it’s more respectful to the client that they receive the properly formatted, text message, then to be cute. To me it’s a matter of function-over-form, not the other way around. But, of course, now we’re are talking about *my opinion*.