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Hot off the email development world: Our #LitmusLive takeaway

We always love meeting the email community. That's why this week we were at Litmus' Email Design Conference in London. Read about our #LitmusLive takeaway.

Hermes is lecturing a rubber duck in front of a laptop



If you've been following us, you’ll know by now how passionate we are about email design (a passion that inspired us to create MJML, our own open-source email framework).

So we wouldn’t have missed the Email Design Conference by Litmus in London for anything in the world. In case you didn’t know yet, Litmus is a pretty cool tool created to help email designers and developers to test their email in different clients, saving them days of manual testing. At Mailjet, we use it extensively to develop MJML and Passport.

This year, Litmus is launching three conferences on Email Design, and the first one took place on 26 and 27 July 2016 in London. Litmus designed this conference to be community-based, mainly focused on developers and marketers. And since it is always great for us to meet key people from the small email world, get inspired, learn about the latest trends and get back home with new ideas, we were there. Amazing conferences and people talking about email development - what more could one ask for?

If you missed it, here’s our takeaway from the event in a nutshell.

The Hot Topics in Email Development

Although there are many topics deriving from Email Development, the conference really focused on two current trends in the industry: progressive enhancement and interactivity.

The Challenge of Progressive Enhancement

When creating an email, you want to deliver a clear message that fits your goal in terms of engagement with the audience. Different email clients offer different possibilities for that, but these are constantly changing. Progressive enhancement is about making sure that, as an email developer, you are benefiting from all the features the most advanced email clients provide -while also making sure that people using less advanced email clients can still get the point of your email. We know progressive enhancement is challenging,because we had to learn (sometimes the hard way) how to master it as a key principle in MJML design.

As Sam Sexton from MOO presented it in his talk, it means optimizing the responsiveness: allowing your design to scale up nicely from mobile to desktop (like MJML does out of the box). It’s also about ensuring that background images will be well positioned, as explained by Kristian Robinson, from Two Associates Ltd.

Progressive enhancement is a challenging topic because email clients evolve constantly. They bring improvements, along with unexpected bugs sometimes. Methods to achieve this progressive enhancement are also moving a lot.

While presenting his latest findings and experiments in the field, Rémi Parmentier (also known in the email development world as HTeuMeuLeu) demonstrated how creative email developers are - and have to be-, in order to go beyond the current obstacles and make things move forward. You can check out some of his conclusions about Super Mail Forward and Fab Four Technic.

Unlocking the potential of Interactivity

The second hot topic at the conference was interactivity. A few years ago, emails were mostly static, and the technology behind them wouldn’t give developers and marketers much space for creativity in the way that they engage with their recipients.

But things have moved a lot in recent years and interactivity within emails is now possible, opening a lot of new options. We have unlocked new horizons to be creative with emails (sometimes while leveraging crazy hacks), like animation, which Wolfgang Marterbauer from Dialogschmiede presented in his talk about CSS 3 animation, or a flow within the email itself, which some attendees introduced during the two Live Optimization sessions.

But interactivity comes with its own new challenges - it brings testing to a new level of complexity. Cyrill Gross from Mayoris AG showed the audience how he successfully found solutions to this problem. And for organisations like Litmus, new challenges arise as well in terms of platform improvements and coming up with elegant solutions.


Wrapping Up...

We had a great time at Litmus’ conference thanks to the insights provided by the speakers. Meeting the email community was also great - people are really eager to learn and experiment with email, a channel which is still engaging and keeps offering new ways to build a relationship with your audience. #Emailgeeks rock - but two days is too short!


The Mailjet and MJML teams now look forward to attending the Boston Litmus Conference next month. Will we get a chance to see you there? Did you attend the London one too? Share your experience and comments with us on Twitter, using the #LitmusLive and #MailjetAtLitmus.

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