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Testing HTML email before you send it out is a critical step. You don't know, for example, how your email will appear in different email software. This video shows basic ways to test your HTML email. Because most software used to open and display HTML email uses web browsers on the computer, the first way to test your HTML email is to use different web browsers. Start with Firefox, Chrome, or Safari to see how your email displays with standards-compliant email software.
So, call up your email locally as you build your email in Firefox to confirm that your email displays fine. Do the same with Safari. For example, Mac Mail some or all of the Safari web browser to display HTML email. Google Chrome is another standards-compliant web browser that can help you identify any problems, as well as confirm that your email displays fine. If you're on Windows, whatever version of Internet Explorer is on your computer you might want to test in that environment as well.
We can see here with Internet Explorer 9 that we have borders around two of the images. Once you test your HTML email locally, the next step is to test with a service like BrowserLab at Adobe. BrowserLab is a free online service from adobe.com that allows you to see how your HTML email will display in a range of web browsers, including Internet Explorer 6, which is used in older versions of Outlook. BrowserLab provides you with a little bit more insight into how your code might or might not display with older email software.
Once you log in to BrowserLab, you click the Browser Sets link at the top, you select from the list of available browsers, then you click the Test link. You type in the URL to your HTML email as a web page, and BrowserLab displays it in whatever browsers you have selected. In this case, we've selected Internet Explorer 6. We can scroll down, and we see that images also have borders.
Explorer 7, everything displays fine, except a few of these images have borders, and finally, Internet Explorer 8. That's the only issue are the borders around the Explorer buttons and the Buy buttons and the Book buttons. This raises the key question about testing: How far do you go? Only the most primitive email will display perfectly in all email software. It's also true that most of your readers may not use older versions of Lotus Notes, which is a very primitive email software.
How far you test is up to you. How far you test depends on the email software your readers most commonly use. Most people test locally on their computer with a few web browsers as they build their HTML email. Then they use online testing services to confirm their email display is fine across many kinds of email software. The next video describes how to use more comprehensive online email testing services.
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