Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Forms in e-mails

Forms in e-mails are a bad idea.
If you want to set up some kind of form, that form must reside somewhere in the web, because although forms will display most of the time in email, they usually don't work due to many email clients considering email forms to be a security risk.
While some email clients will simply warn you of potential danger, others will outright disable the forms.

Complete Results from CampaignMonitor

How Forms Perform in HTML Emails
Client Form is displayed Form is functional
.Mac Yes No
Yahoo! Mail Yes Yes
Yahoo! Mail Classic Yes No
AOL Webmail Yes No
Gmail Yes Yes
Windows Live Hotmail Yes No
Apple Mail Yes Yes
Thunderbird Yes Yes
Penelope (Eudora 8) Yes Yes
Outlook 2007 No No
Outlook 2003 Yes No
Outlook Express Yes Yes
Windows Live Mail Yes Yes
Lotus Notes 8 Yes Yes
Entourage Yes Yes

Since there's no way we can segment out email addresses by known email clients, I'd rather recommend linking to a form on a website in an email rather than embedding it therein. This is the safest, most reliable solution to pairing an email message with a form. More people will see it and be able to use it, and as a result participation will increase.