For the last 6 years we used to state that emails should be not wider than 550-600px. This number was based on certain display dimensions used at that time. However, since then the average display size has drastically changed and now we are all using dimensions beyond 1024x768px. For this reason last week we asked web designers to indicate the maximum width of HTML email they are using today.
Having seen the results of our poll, we found out that not many things have changed. The majority of email client preview panes can still be used only for email under 650px wide. For wider email, for example those that exceed 800px, the scroll bars to the preview pane are either somehow bizarre or shortened horizontally. Below you can see the results of distribution of 467 reader votes that we obtained:
As you can see, 74% of web designers chose 550-560px to be the maximum email width they use, among which 90% voted directly for 600px width. 20% of users voted for 751-800px maximum email width, and again the majority of respondents belonging to this group voted explicitly for 800px. However, only 2% of the votes came for fluid (100% width) layouts and the same 2% went for width of 900-1000px, which is usually used for recent fixed-width web-designs.
Different email clients set width limitations differently. In desktop clients such as Outlook and Apple Mail bottom-right aligned preview pane regulates the width limitation. In the meantime webmail clients, such as Hotmail and Gmail are more flexible – their preview panels adjust to email widths and expand accordingly. However, ad banners often tend to occupy much of precious screen space.
Having said all that, what also needs to be mentioned is the advantage of being limited in width. The wider the email, the more difficult it is to read. That is why 550-650px are so handy and practical. And as soon as the horizontal scrollbar needs to be used, email becomes bulky and complicated in use.
Thus, we thank all of you who gave their votes to help establish modern email width preferences. Finally, we congratulate all Campaign Monitor schwag winners. Don’t forget to follow us up for more information in the future.