There is a lot of talk about responsive emails versus static images, and most people are resorting to static images as it is quicker and requires less work. However, there is an undeniable difference between the two methods and they have an impact on the real-life images and examples in your emails.
While static emails technically work, the text is tiny and unreadable, and the images are shrunk down and distorted. In addition, the calls-to-action and engagement elements of the email, such as “read more” buttons, are so small they break the literal “rule of thumb”—most users scroll through information on their mobile devices with their thumb. When designing for content that may be viewed on mobile screens, it is incredibly important to remember that people are not operating on a point-and-click basis with a mouse pointer. If a user is going to interact with your email on a mobile phone, they need to be able to tap the button.
The reason responsive emails are a better option is that they have none of these problems. The emails adapt to the screen size that the person is using. Additionally, the text is larger and easier to read and all the email elements fit perfectly on the screen. Unfortunately, there are some downsides to responsive emails like the inconsistency between email clients, which is why companies choose to slice emails into images. This traditional method allows emails to look the same on different email clients (as long as they support HTML). This method does not take mobile devices into consideration and certainly is not prepared for Apple’s Retina Display, causing most image-based templates to look tiny and unreadable on smartphones and tablets.
Have you ever wondered how some companies like Gap send out so many emails a day? Well open them up on mobile and tell me how they look. The text is small, and the buttons are hard to press. These are emails that are not mobile responsive. Moral of the story, make sure when you are not using responsive emails that your static emails look good on all devices, and you are aware of possible design changes in your responsive HTML emails.