24 06/2009Damien Buckley Outlook's Broken - Lets Fix It!

Screenshot from Fix Outlook

The Email Standards Project have today launched one of the most amazing social petitioning initiatives we’ve ever seen – dynamically loading and displaying tweets including the sites’ URL, fixoutlook.org is live and actively sending a big message to Microsoft that taking a decade-long regressive step in email display just doesnt make sense and the industry is not happy about it. From the site…

Microsoft have confirmed they plan on using the Word rendering engine to display HTML emails in Outlook 2010.

Outlook 2007 - 2010 comparison

This means for the next 5 years your email designs will need tables for layout, have no support for CSS like float and position, no background images and lots more. Want proof? To demonstrate just how bad the Word rendering engine is in Outlook 2010, here’s exactly the same email rendered in Outlook 2000, and then Outlook 2010. Click the image for a full sized version.

Outlook 2010 is still in beta and Microsoft wants your feedback. It’s time to rally together and encourage Microsoft to embrace web standards before it’s too late.

Let’s use Twitter to send a clear message to Microsoft.

Join 82 others asking Microsoft to improve standards support and make sure you include fixoutlook.org in your tweet. We’ll pull together every tweet that includes the link here to give Microsoft a unified message from the community.

As a side note – a big congrats to Newism who designed fixoutlook.org – this is one of the simplest yet coolest sites I’ve seen in a long time and given the speed the tweets are rolling in, I believe is going to be iconic in the field of web design.

UPDATE – 26/06/09

Since first reporting on this initiative, things have heated up considerably with fixoutlook.org clocking up over 20,000 tweets in the first 24 hours (at time of writing the counter stands at 22,366) in addition to being picked up by a number of major news outlets and receiving a fairly hasty and critical response from Microsoft. Whilst it appears Microsoft are sticking to their guns with Outlook 2010, other commentators such as Mozilla’s David Ascher have made positive suggestions (and concessions in their defence) as to how a company with the resources of Microsoft could work around this problem. Even the ‘God Father of web standards’ Jeffrey Zeldman has weighed in.

Its going to be interesting to see where this goes but one thing is for sure – the way in which this campaign was devised and deployed will be talked about for a long time to come.

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