Monday, August 17, 2009

Email on Acid: Newsletter testing and simulation on virtual email clients

If you offer email newsletters as a subscription option to your site visitors, you must be aware that newsletters use HTML emails to carry the content to the subscriber’s inbox and those HTML mails use a code that is entirely different from the code you used on your site. But testing newsletters isn’t so straightforward as testing sites on different browsers. You have to create accounts on different email services and mail your newsletter to each of these. Then you have to login to all these account to test your mail. Similarly, you have to install various email clients on your computer and then download your newsletter to each of these clients.

Email on Acid is a new web service that provides an easier method to test newsletters. No need to login to different email providers or install a bunch of email clients. You can test and simulate each these services and email software online.

Email on Acid is free. Just signup for the service and copy the HTML code of your newsletter and paste it on the appropriate box to run the simulation. If your newsletter can be accessed via a URL, you can enter the link too.

email-on-acid

Email on Acid uses specific algorithms to strip out code that is not supported by each client and then display the end result inside the email client preview pane so that you can see exactly how it would render within the actual client. The code analysis feature allows you to see exactly how each individual email client interpreted your code. Pieces of unsupported code are marked in red allowing you to make appropriate adjustments.

email-on-acid-code2

Some users block HTML mails. To see how your newsletter appear for such users you can switch to text mode. You can also block images from the newsletter.

An array of tabs located on the top of the page allow you to toggle back and forth from one client to the next. Supported email services include Gmail, AOL, Yahoo and Windows Live Hotmail, and supported email clients are Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, Thunderbird 2 and 3, Windows Live Client, Windows Mail, Entourage 4 and 8 (Mac), and MacMail (Mac).

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