Following the announcement of iOS 7 at Apple's WWDC keynote yesterday, we manned our battle stations and got straight to testing the refreshed Mail app for the iPhone. So, will this updated mobile client make a difference to how we design for email? Here's our verdict.
While still in beta, our early email tests with iOS 7 Mail, like the keynote itself, have been largely trouble-free. If anything, the big changes made to the app have really centered on its look and feel, usability and perhaps best of all, improved search functionality. Overall, the rendering experience is identical to iOS 6, but we'll be keeping watch to see if this changes as iOS 7 matures.
None of this comes as a huge surprise, considering Mail's coupling with Mobile Safari - both of which are powered by the WebKit layout engine. However, outside of its already model HTML and CSS support, there is one thing to keep in mind when designing for this mobile client.
A matter of margins
While not so much a rendering issue, it should be noted that iOS 7 Mail does introduce a margin either side of responsive email content that has been that adapted to fit the iPhone's 320px viewport width (see above). Unlike iOS 6 Mail, these newsletter designs no longer display wall-to-wall. Some may consider this to be an unnecessary use of precious screen real-estate, but it may well prevent situations in which email content may find itself awkwardly pressed hard against the side of the screen (say, when the email designer hasn't added their own margins or padding).
Newsletters that haven't been optimized for mobile in this manner display as before, that is, sufficiently zoomed out to fit the width of the HTML email content and without a surrounding margin.
So, after this early look, we can assure email designers that it's business as usual. Should we notice any quirks or curiosities as we further test this client, we'll be sure to note them in this blog.
What are your impressions of iOS 7 Mail? Are you a fan of its look and feel? Let us know in the comments below.