One of our clients wants to send a HTML mail containing a quiz.

I don't know how this sort of quiz is called in English, but i will try to explain: There are questions in one ordered list, each question is followed by multiple possible answers. Each answer is associated with a letter. When you got the right answers, the associated letters will result the solution word.

The problem: Initially, the idea was to use a HTML form with input fields for the right answer(s). But there is no chance to display HTML formular mail contents in mail clients like Outlook, HTML elements like inputs or textarea fields are not presentable as such. As far as i know, interaction using forms is impossible inside a HTML mail.

Also, there is no chance to display a link like 'show this mail in a browser'. This is technically not possible in this project, so the whole thing has to take place inside the mail client. Outlook will be used by most of the recipients.

What would you do in such case? Explain the mail recipient that he should write down the right letters to get the solution word? How would you work out such a quiz in a mail visually?

  • Can you perhaps provide an example of the quiz and what you'd like the user to do with that example quiz?
    – Perchik
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 14:38

3 Answers 3


Unfortunately for you, the only solution technically available to you is to provide an outbound link within the email client. Email clients like Outlook expressly have disabled form elements and even the ability to run scripts within an email client because of the security risks this represents. Prior to Outlook 2007 you could "display" form elements within an HTML, but it would never work. With the release of Outlook 2007, Microsoft just went ahead and disabled the form fields altogether.

The two options for you are:

  1. Send a link to the surveys within the email.
  2. Have people work out your solution manually.

Just realize that people are more likely to click on a link (since this is standard practice) than to manually work out something. If you'd like to learn more about sending out surveys, consult "Issue 10 \ Surveys" from the UX MailChimp Newsletter.

A few email survey examples:

Breaking Development Conference Survey BD Conf Survey

Noisetrade 2014 Survey Noisetrade Books Survey

Netflix Delivery Survey When did a DVD arrive?

Squarespace Customer Service Follow-up Survey Taken from ReallyGoodEmails.com


To be honest, I would go back to the client and tell them that a form within an email is not the right approach. If you explain why, and suggest a better approach they will often take your advice.

Can the quiz can be in the browser and the email will drive people to the this?

If you absolutely had to do something in an email, you would need to rethink how it would work and what's the point of the quiz; Why does it have to be a quiz and what is the point of the solution word? Could you do it in a form style, but not using inputs or selects, and just present a list of options with a letter beside each one. With this, you would need to keep the solution word very simple.

Overall, I would imagine there are better approaches to do what your client is trying to achieve. Remember, they hired you as the expert and to advise them. If we did everything a client asked...well, I shudder to think!


There is no good support for HTML forms in email clients, please check out this post http://www.flitehaus.com/blog/2011-06-20-can-i-include-form-email about the support for HTML forms.What you can do is send a link in the mail, which opens in the browser and contains the form.A quiz should be interactive, providing a Quiz in email client would not be suggestible. So sending a link to the form would be better.And after the person figures out the word,there needs to be some validation.I am not sure how you are implementing this.

  • Everything you say is true and usually i would use a simple link to a webpage with a simple form. But as i wrote, in this case it is not possible. The quiz is very simple (just seven short questions), so our client suggested a non-interactive solution, something like a print media display. Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 9:22
  • @Herr_Schwabullek then may be you need to explain it to the users and visually show a clear association between the letter and the answer.Also you can give a small example of how to join the letters and make a word Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 9:28
  • I've got not enough recommendation to vote up your comment neither your answer, but i fear your suggestion in your comment is the only way to go. I still have hope there is a solution i haven't considered yet though Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 9:38

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