Sending emails 


Use emails to notify your users about progress with a transaction.

How it works

Consider using GOV.UK Notify

GOV.U K Notify lets you send emails and text messages to your users.

Follow the writing guide for emails

Remember that email is not a guaranteed delivery mechanism

Email is not a guaranteed delivery mechanism. Give your users the option to resend emails that contain essential information, or access that information in some other way. 

Send HTML emails

  • Send HTML emails - they can use the GOV.UK identity, which makes users trust them more
  • Send the email in multipart with a plaintext fallback (Blackberry OS 4 cannot render HTML)
  • Images should be loaded from the web to stop the email containing attachments
  • CSS should be inline
  • Use tables for layout
  • Using a simple sans-serif font stack - email clients do not handle webfonts well
  • HTML is limited to XHTML strict elements, no HTML5

Research on this pattern

Carers Allowance

82% of users chose to get an email notification when their application had been received by DWP.

GOV.UK Notify

GOV.UK Notify tested 6 versions of a HTML email in a selection of clients using Litmus:

  • Table layout, 580px width
  • Table layout, 100% width
  • XHTML layout, css inlined
  • XHTML layout, css NOT inlined
  • Mailchimp simple basic
  • Mailchimp simple responsive
Here are the results:

Related links

  • – tests your email in lots of browsers and operating systems. $79pm but you can get a week's free trial
  • – Litmus Putsmail is a useful for tool for sending one-off (free) test emails to yourself