Guy Kawasaki has a great post today about email etiquette. I agree with pretty much all of his rules, but there is one that should have a series of treatises written about it:
Use plain text. I hate HTML email. I tried it for a while, but it’s not worth the trouble of sending or receiving it. All those pretty colors and fancy type faces and styles make me want to puke. Cut to the chase: say what you have to say in as brief and plain manner as possible. If you can’t say it in plain text, you don’t have anything worth saying.
Amen. I could write 10,000 words and not begin to tell you how much I dislike html emails. I don’t get many html emails at home, since most of the people who email me at home fall on either end of the html email spectrum: they either don’t know how to send an html email or they know better.
But at the office- that’s a horse of another color. Typically a pastel color, with little cats or bears or yodas or something on them that is intended as stationary but ends up as rage inducing fluff. I would guess that around half the emails I get at the office are html email. The colorful text is bad enough, but the fancy, funky, indecipherable fonts on top of the wild colors and dancing yodas turn communication into frustration.
Outlook lets you force emails to display as plain text, and I use that feature some. But elaborate emails that contain something I need to read can get all jumbled up when transformed from foolishness to function.
I really, really, really don’t like html email.