Thoughts on handling Outlook 2007

I've known about the Outlook 2007 problem ever since CM first started writing about it but I confess I've only recently truly engaged with how dramatically bad it is. So here's the thing...

There are plenty of good posts here and elsewhere on how to address particular shortcomings. (Given CM's own analysis, the fact that Outlook 2007 doesn't do padding at all well has come as a blow!)

What I'm more interested in is how people think Outlook 2007 should be handled given how much it dictates the nature of the code needed to get it to match other more capable clients, including its ancestor, Outlook 2003.

I'm loathe to invest silly amounts of time either:

a) Bloating out the code and tabling everything to the max like the last 10 years never happened
b) Iterating nano improvements in how Outlook 2007 can be made to render things almost identically without bloat

Even though Outlook 2007 is 6 years the junior of Internet Explorer 6 aren't there parallels here with how more and more people are choosing to handle IE6 of late? Namely, to make the presentation and user experience adequate but less sophisticated -- and to compensate for this by providing a web link.

How else are we to shame Microsoft into overhauling the travesty that is Outlook 2007?

I'd be interested to know people's thoughts.

Whilst we're on the subject of Outlook 2007, as it is so intransigent, how about a dedicated forum for it?

Jonathan Schofield

Mathew Mathew, 8 years ago

When it comes to email, I think designers have a lot less power than with browsers - most 'normal' people couldn't build their own website, but anyone can send email.

So we'd have to approach things differently. The is something we are working on of course, and we'd welcome ideas on how to reach the right people to get in early for the next version of Outlook at the least.

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watershed, 8 years ago

Thanks, Matthew, for your thoughts.

A lot of people are content to provide a considered but degraded experience for IE6 users even though usage of that browser, in my experience, varies wildly from less than 1 in 10 users to just over 7 in 10 users in some markets (eg: engineering in China).

I guess what's different is that there is a better upgrade path available for IE6 users in Firefox, IE7 and shortly IE8, but for Outlook users the upgrade path is actually worse in terms of moderately sophisticated html. And people have a lot more invested in the choice of email client than browser, especially Outlook which does so much more.

I guess we're stuck with either crazy tables and spacer images or much simpler designs.

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