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Email standards are on the way thanks to the EMC

A new group of email professionals plans to take a shot at developing email standards that can address inconsistencies while improving the inbox experience for recipients.

If you’re an email developer like me, life can be a little challenging and frustrating at times. Unlike software development and web development, there are no defined standards for coding emails.

The result? Various email clients render HTML and CSS differently, which leads to an inconsistent user experience for recipients. Sometimes, if you’re not careful, that means emails can be unreadable, inaccessible, and ineffective.

But a new group is looking to change all that once and for all.

The Email Markup Consortium (EMC) launched this month as a community-based initiative including some of the top email professionals in the industry. The EMC is led by Hussein Al Hammad, Mark Robbins, and Alice Li. The group aims to work with developers, email tools, and email clients to drive the EMC’s vision forward at every step of the email journey. 

In a press release announcing the EMC’s official launch, they explain that the goal is to “improve the user experience, accessibility, performance, consistency, and reliability of email markup.”

Here’s what most email developers deal with on a regular basis...

  • Interactivity in email only works for some recipients

  • Web fonts are not universally supported

  • Dark mode rendering is inconsistent

That’s just for starters.

Put simply, the way an email looks and functions in Gmail may not be the same for recipients using Outlook, Apple Mail, or other clients. And that’s a less-than-desirable user experience that can have a direct impact on the effectiveness of email as a communication channel. Plus, a bad inbox experience can reflect poorly on your application.

Why the tech industry should get behind the EMC

As Hussein Al Hammad explains, the reasons for these inconsistencies are much more complicated than email client rendering alone.

“The problem we're working to solve today goes beyond a lack of consistent support of HTML/CSS features in email clients. In fact, it can also go beyond email clients as almost every piece of technology that touches an HTML email modifies it according to its own rules. As a result, the recipient ultimately suffers. That's why we aim to collaboratively and openly work with email clients, ESPs and the wider email community to establish a better path for HTML email.”

Hussein Al Hammad, Flourish/EMC Admin

Check out an EMC blog post from Hussein to find out even more about the group’s goals and plans.

At Mailgun by Sinch, we believe in taking a leading role in moving email forward. That includes developing new standards and innovations to support the channel and make it stronger. We’re proud to say our sister company, Mailjet by Sinch, is an official EMC sponsor. And I’m proud to be able to be a member myself. Helping the email industry tackle this issue is a total privilege.

How to get involved

We want to encourage you to join this effort as well. So, consider becoming a member, like me.

The EMC will keep you in the loop about what’s ahead and may call on members for ideas and advice. You’ll be supporting an initiative to make the inbox a better place for subscribers and make the job of email development a lot less frustrating and a lot more efficient.

You can also join the conversation about email standards over at GitHub. Details about the project are publicly posted there so that efforts can continue as the situation evolves.

Past attempts at creating email standards have fallen short, and we don’t want that to happen this time. The EMC could use the thoughts and opinions of developers and engineers like you. So, join the group, contribute to the conversation, and let’s solve this problem together.

Join the Initiative

Become a member of the Email Markup Consortium

Support efforts to define and develop email industry standards.

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