Kerri Mark Sharp giving his talk at Frontend NE in June 2017.

See it in action:

I moved to Newcastle upon Tyne for two years in September 2015. To begin with, I was working there full-time as a freelance web designer and developer. One of the first people I met in my time there was Martin Underhill (who trades as TemperTemper). Martin was also a freelancer like myself and we had a great chat about web design. As 1/3rd of Frontend NE, he invited me to come along to their monthly talks about the web and frontend design.

I would often bump into Martin on my way to work or at the events themselves. Having attended several meet ups and improving my confidence – I decided to challenge myself and give my own presentation.

In early 2017, I researched, wrote and presented my own talk about how to create great responsive email templates and why they are important. This research related to what I was working on at the time as a web developer at Opia Ltd, as well as technical challenges I had faced in my own career.

Good HTML email templates are very difficult to build. Many developers are aware that to optimise your website for older browsers - it takes a lot of extra work. Yet, Email standards are even harder to adhere to, with many many different legacy clients and mobile apps to configure for. Did you know that Microsoft Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013 editions use Word, and not even a web browser to render HTML emails? It’s challenging to build email templates which look great across many platforms. Many email providers (read: most) rarely use a set standard either! Plus, an expectation for emails to be responsive like the modern web adds a new layer of complexity to their design challenge.

I set out to find modern tools which could help ease the burden of email development. Both Foundation for Emails and MJML seemed like great candidates and I began to research them both for use in my work.

To improve my understanding of these tools, I researched how to use them and built my findings into the talk you can watch linked above.

Additionally, you can see my slides from the talk on SpeakerDeck or take a look at my code in the GitHub repository.