Squished Gmail, Inbox messages? Google readies prettier-looking email for mobile

Google is giving marketers and publishers tools to create email that adjusts to whatever device its one billion Gmail users are viewing it in.

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Starting later this month, Gmail and Inbox by Gmail emails will adapt to fit screens of all sizes.

Image: Google

Emails viewed in Gmail on smartphones will soon look like they were made for the small screen, rather than squashed desktop layouts.

The better-looking email will arrive as Google begins rolling out support for so-called "responsive web design" in Gmail and Inbox by Gmail. It will allow developers to build better looking email that's easier for recipients to view and interact with, no matter what device they're using.

The change will provide better support for emails that use more visual communication, such as the YouTube example Google offers where four video thumbnails are crammed onto the display. New style rules will allow developers to automatically reformat this email for the smaller screen.

Google is aiming to address formatting quirks when viewing email on smartphones, which it says stem from a desktop-led, one-size-fits-all approach that can result in squished text, or links and buttons that aren't friendly for touch on smaller-screen mobile devices. It will also allow for smarter-looking email on larger screens.

"Starting later this month, Gmail and Inbox by Gmail will support emails created with responsive design, meaning their content adapts to fit screens of all sizes," Google notes.

"Text, links, and even buttons will enlarge to make reading and tapping easier on a smaller screen. If you're on desktop, you'll also see improvements, since emails designed for mobile can also adapt to fit larger screens."

The support for responsive design means developers can use a range of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) media rules to automatically adjust formatting based on width, rotation, and resolution, helping tailor email for desktops, tablets and phones.

A full list of supported queries for Gmail and Inbox is available, which Google plans on expanding over time.

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