The HTML emails I receive from Stackexchange notifying me about a new item in my inbox have some issues:

  • the HTML is faulty. The W3c Validator also shows several errors, some of them trivial, some wrongly nested elements etc.
  • The usage of tables as a design tool is (IMHO, and others) not really contemporary HTML, specially 3 nested ones (two of them have only one cell) for such a small content does not seem like the best way t do it.
  • Android email clients cannot display them. I tried on several phones, and there is a extremely long scrolldown requested to see the content (more than 20 screens), I never managed to reach the actual text.
  • Thunderbird/Firefox also displays it with a significant empty space on top of the text. enter image description here
  • Apart from using tables and other HTML issues, the major issue in the email is this here:

    height: 100% !important;

I am not sure why this is here, but it seems to try to stretch the content so that the whole email appears on the bottom of the available space. I guess this was supposed to be there only for the unsubscribe line of the email, but instead was applied to the whole message.

Since this is originally a website for programmers and it fails to send out emails in correct HTML that also displays more or less the same (and is readable) across multiple platforms should not be an issue IMHO.

  • 5
    Most email clients place restrictions on the permitted HTML or use non-standard rendering engines, so for compatibility it's common to use code that would be considered horrible and obsolete. Improvements can be made but they probably won't end up with nice modern HTML. – Jeremy Banks May 27 '13 at 4:03
  • 2
    @JeremyBanks I think most of the HTML in the email can be simply omitted and still be as informative. On top of this, the email uses DIVs and SPANs just the same as TABLE instead of choosing one of the other. A simpler but readable email should be preferable over a non-readable HTML email. Also I consider Firefox/Thunderbird and the default Android mail client as reasonable "standard" to be required to be readable. – uncovery May 27 '13 at 5:24

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