3 Things You Need to Know About Hotmail’s Latest Release


July 11, 2011 Update: Hotmail has now resolved their image map issue (#1 below).

1.) Hotmail no longer supports image maps

I tested this in every browser and did some digging to see what’s going on behind the scenes. Turns out, they are blocking the onclick event via Javascript. Rollovers for the alt, title, and href remain intact but when you click on the link from within the image map, it does nothing.

Since Hotmail does not support Javascript within HTML emails, there’s no way to prevent this functionality. If you want individual sections of your image to be clickable, you are going to have to slice it into multiple images and use a table to align the pieces.  Don’t forget about our image spacing work-arounds to ensure they line up evenly in all browsers.

I am not sure how long the map tag has been in existence but developing HTML emails just got a little bit harder. A big thanks to Justin Tiernan for bringing this to our attention via our online forum!

2.) Linked images don’t work in Internet Explorer 7 & 8

We’ve also seen some buggy stuff happen when linking images in IE8. For example:

<a href="https://www.emailonacid.com" target="_blank">
	<IMG src="https://www.emailonacid.com/test.jpg"  />
</a>

When you click on the image the browser opens the link and then immediately jumps back to Hotmail. Depending on the target, it will jump back to the inbox or the original message. This ONLY happens the first time you open the email. If you re-open the email, click on the exact same link, it opens in a new window.

IE9 opens the URL in a new tab (as one would expect). This issue does not seem to affect text links.

Unfortunately I am at a loss for offering a potential fix on this one.

3.) Hotmail’s latest release is incompatible with certain browsers

We’ve found several instances where Hotmail does not work in certain browsers depending on local configuration and plug-ins. For instance, when I click on inbox items in Chrome 12, nothing happens. For a complete list of bugs that they have identified and are working to resolve, check out the following link:
http://www.windowslivehelp.com/thread.aspx?threadid=18cc170e-0374-423e-aab7-eb56465c8557

15 thoughts on “3 Things You Need to Know About Hotmail’s Latest Release”

  1. I discovered Chrome and Hotmail weren’t playing nicely a week or so ago. My Dad rang to say “I can’t open emails”… this was odd, because he only has a Hotmail account. What could be wrong? But yes, He could log into Hotmail in Chrome but wasn’t able to do anything! He could see all his messages but could move, delete, preview or open any. Clicking just didn’t work.

    I had to install Firefox again so he could read his Hotmail messages.

    Madness Microsoft. Madness.

    Thanks for the article, Michelle. I wondered who was to blame!

  2. Thanks for the heads up! I confirmed I was having the image map problem too but my other image links were working fine in IE8, however my back button wouldn’t go back to hotmail, just stayed on the page I was on. Adding it to the long list of things we can’t do…

  3. I know image maps are considered lazy from a coding standpoint, but it IS HTML email we’re talking about. 🙂 I nevertheless steered clear of them unless absolutely necessary. Still, there’s that performance issue where you once had a single call to the server for an image file and now you will have multiple calls. Thanks for the info!

  4. Seems to work fine on all platforms now, so far as I can see.

    have tested…
    IE, Firefox, Chrome – PC
    Safari, Firefox, Chrome – MAC

  5. Liam, thanks for sharing! We have confirmed that Hotmail has corrected the image mapping issue. We’ve added an update to our blog post.

  6. As of Oct 25, 2011

    I’ve tried the image maps on hotmail, here are my results:

    Windows:
    –FF: works
    –Chrome: works

    Mac:
    –FF: works
    –Chrome: works
    –Safari: Does not work.

    Has anyone got image maps to work on safari in hotmail?

    The version of safari(mac osx) I am experiencing this on is: 5.0.5

    Any information on this would be greatly appreciated.

  7. Hi, I wrote a message recently about image maps not working for hotmail on safari (ver 5.0.5).

    I just upgraded safari to ver 5.1.1 and the issue is solved.

    Just wanted to let you know.

  8. I saw someone else posted that mailto links are not working anymore either…has anyone by chance seen a resolution for this? A work around purhaps?

  9. I’ve heard the web version of Outlook (14.X) isn’t supporting image maps. Anyone have the skinny on that?

  10. That I haven’t noticed. i haven’t used my hotmail account for a while. Maybe it got expired. Does the hotmail not support the image maps. oi think i should check it before reactivating my account. Thank you for sharing the data.

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