What if I told you there was a way to get 989 likes on Instagram within 20 seconds of posting a photo?

You’d say, yes I know that Elliot, I already read that just up there in the clickbait headline.

Well, dear friend, here is how to get 989 likes on Instagram within 20 seconds of posting a photo:

  1. Post a photo.

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This week’s #EmailWeekly is a couple of weeks late, as we spent a lot of time trying to improve the experience in less-robust email clients (sorry about that).

Take a look at Week 3’s email here.

Email layout fallbacks using CSS grid

In email #2 we tried out CSS grid, and found an approach that works in some devices, and falls back to a similar layout for many others thanks to the hybrid-div approach.

However there were some email clients that had a fairly poor experience, particularly Outlooks 2007, 10, 13 & 16 (which use Microsoft’s Word engine to render HTML), plus Gmail IMAP (which doesn’t read style tags) and some regional email clients like Mail RU (which read *some CSS*, seemingly at random). …

We’re re-designing our weekly newsletter in public.

After week 1’s semantic HTML-only email, for week 2’s email we looked at using modern CSS to apply layout to our code. We’ve been looking at how we could move towards a multi-column, magazine-style layout for a while, and combined with a co-incidental update in iOS support, CSS Grid seemed like the perfect approach.

Take a look at week 2’s email here.

What is CSS Grid?

Essentially, it’s a much better way to do layout with CSS. No floats, no tables, but a proper, flexible, grid. …

We’re re-designing our weekly newsletter in public.

The first email in our redesign experiment was coded in semantic, modern-web style HTML, with very little design formatting. By it’s nature, it was pretty accessible, and had a fairly intuitive content hierarchy.

Semantic code weighs much less

Last week’s email came in at around 200 lines of code and 14kb, whereas a previous version, with similar content, is 1000 lines and 40kb.

Even with no style, email still looks different

The default fonts and formatting for things like <h1> and <p> are way nicer in newer platforms like iOS and Gmail than in Outlook 2013, where everything defaults back to Times.

Newer versions of Outlook/Windows browsers tended to default to a sans-serif…

Ever since we started sending a weekly update of links about email design, in an email, to email designers (yeah, meta³), we’ve used #EmailWeekly as a sandbox to test out new ideas.

After a couple of years of testing out content, subject lines, perfecting hybrid HTML and various other things, it’s time to start afresh. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to build a new template from scratch, so we can look at:


Over the last year or so, accessibility in email has finally become a thing. There are some easy wins you can add to any template, but we want to explore what proper, web-standard accessibility entails in email.

Web Code

With recent Gmail updates, modern web-standard code is within grasp for email developers. Whilst our client work still has to work…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The last few Cyber-Week emails are dropping out of my promotions tab, meanwhile the requests for 2017 email predictions are lighting up my work inbox.

I’ve thought long and hard about what hot takes I’d like to share, and what the company message should be, and to be honest, I can’t really come up with much.

Photo: Unsplash

I don’t expect a sweeping change to happen, because the fundamentals of email haven’t really changed in the last 10 years. HTML support has got both better and worse, design styles have changed a bit, and mobile has happened. …

First things first, I can’t stand the “email is dead” myth. It’s something circulated by traditional media, who love calling things dead to put us off the scent of their own problems. However, as an industry, our response has been weak.

It is barely true that you need an email address to access other online services — you can sign up for Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat with a mobile number. But that’s not the argument anyway — email isn’t surviving through some kind of loophole. If this was the driving force behind the survival of email, then my inbox would…

We need to talk about how we measure success when it comes to email marketing, particularly on mobile.

Image: unsplash

The email experience today is miles apart from the one ten years ago — there are mobile phones, tablets (is that a mobile device or not?), watches, laptops — yet on the most part we are still using the same success metrics.

This isn’t going to be an article about design tips or how to add “the responsive code”.

Ok it might be a bit. Here are 5 tips: shorter copy, more white space, nice big easy to tap buttons, simpler column layout, more contrast between colours. Now, I don’t have results to back this up, this is based on…

I’ll spare you the pre-amble (here is a good primer), but Gmail just announced a drastic improvement in HTML and CSS support.

image: unsplash

The key benefit is that we can finally provide an optimal mobile experience for almost the entire mobile audience — a cursory look at the email client usage stats show that 16% of emails are opened in Gmail, and a further 10% in Google’s various Android apps.

It means that some of the code aspects of email design just got a whole lot easier, allowing designers to focus on creating great email campaigns.

So what’s supported?

The good news is that quite a lot is supported when the new version launches later this month. From a design standpoint, there are two main benefits:

In our combined decades working as designers in the email industry, there’s been one consistent challenge that’s never adequately been solved — what happens once we deliver the HTML to a client?

Usually one of two things — the client updates content in the HTML themselves, either by wading through fragile email code, or using a visual editor that more often than not mangles the code. Alternatively, the designer has to amend the code, adding extra cost and work to a project.

So we built Taxi to enable clients to control their email content, without needing to worry about complicated…

Elliot Ross

CEO @TaxiforEmail • Founder @ActionRocket • http://elliot-ross.co.uk

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