Mobile email clients all typically have a smaller screen and serve a similar purpose, so it’s easy to assume they would all display email in a similar way. But the truth is that iPhone 6 and Gmail on Android are actually the most different of any clients we studied. They’re not only different from each other, though—they’re also different from all other clients.
This is explained, at least in part, by the fact that there’s no such thing as a true Gmail mobile client. There’s web Gmail ported to a mobile user interface, but all forms of Gmail are the same under the hood. The native iPhone mail app is powered by WebKit, so differences between these two clients are due to differences in WebKit and Android rendering.
Some final thoughts
If you don’t have the resources to develop custom-coded emails for each client, consider testing any mobile clients that have a strong presence on your list. If Outlook 2007, 2010, or 2013 are popular among your subscribers, you can probably safely test just one of those, as they all run on the same rendering engine. Finally, test Gmail if it’s widely used among your subscribers, as it’s consistently inconsistent.
“A lot of people think any email they design and build has to be perfect across all clients, when really, the work to do that is kind of wasted effort,” Fabio explains. Because email clients cluster together in terms of how they present an email, “thinking about designing a baseline experience and enhancing for each major cluster of clients on your list could net better results and make development much easier and faster.”
All of which is to say: test, tweak, and repeat! Inbox Preview can help.