| Default view - click to enlarge|
To make matters worse there was no ALT text for the images, and the link to the web version actually wasn't a live link.
A number of significant email clients now have images turned off by default: AOL, Googlemail/Gmail, Windows Live Mail, Outlook 2007 and some versions of Outlook Express, to name just a few. In most cases, the recipient is in control and can enable images if he or she wishes to - either on an email-by-email basis or by changing the setting.
So what can you do? As usual, it's damage limitation:
Add a text-based link to a web version, at the top of the email
Use ALT text for all images
Do not use images for important content like headlines and links
Ask recipients to add you to their address book
Regarding the last point, don't assume people know how to do this. Usability research suggests that if you give people instructions on how to add addresses to their address book or trusted sender list, it greatly increases uptake (Marketing Sherpa email Benchmark Guide 2007). This might mean setting up a page on your website with basic instructions and screenshots of the major email clients.