An Outlook-Users Point of View
I will just quote his list items followed by my commentary.
1. Address correction and validation: The United States Postal Service likes to see addresses presented in certain ways, with specific abbreviations and nine-digit ZIP codes. Why doesn’t Outlook automatically validate the addresses in my contact list, fix nonstandard abbreviations, and add ZIP codes and the extra four digits as needed?Hello? Is somebody home? There are other countries than the US of A! All these countries have different rules and requirements regarding the format of addresses. I don’t think, that die US Postal Service knows all these rules. That’s also why software like Lotus Notes has several formats in which to display the contact information.
And you are always online? You would like Outlook to dialup via an expensive mobile phone connection to verify an address while you are on the road for just 9.99? I don’t think so.
2. Address verification: I am not sure why companies like Plaxo even exist when Outlook ought to be capable of periodically asking people on your contact list to verify their information and processing the responses. Outlook could process these messages automatically, just asking the user whether or not they want to respond to a particular request. Everyone in your contact list could also receive automatic responses handled in the background, if the user desired.Yeah, sure. I got over 3.000 contacts in my addressbook. If only a third of those sends me such a message once a year, I won’t have the time to do some actual work. But you would also like to automate this procedure. Where is the RFC for it?
Without some sort of standard regarding the format of these messages, etc. you won’t get lucky with me and a lot of other people on the net, as we are not using Outlook and you mail will probably end up in our spam-bins.
And then there is the matter of privacy. If you get 20 to 50 such messages a day, do you really verify who the sender of each of these messages is? Or will you just press OK, as you will probably also have other things to do. Can you say lovely spam?
Until these features are added I’m using the GoodContacts service.Yeah, cool service. I can just imagine my ISP shuting down my line as fast as possible, once my PC starts to crank out thousands of Keep in Touch mails in one go. LOL
Taking a closer look, I found Select an email template; Customize the message, salutation and subject within email template; Add your corporate logo and graphics
Hurray! Not only am I sending out up to 10.000 mails a year, they are also in this bloody HTML format, at least trippelig the size of each message.
Now, let’s take a look at the process itself:
1. You select contacts for verification and send „Keep-in-touch emails using GoodContacts.Who is providing this secure webform? I don’t have a secure webserver, you will probably won’t have one either. So we are relying on a service by GoodContacts? Who guarantees that they won’t harvest the information and sell it? Can you say lovely spam?
2.Recipient clicks „No - Modify” to provide new information. (assuming he reads HTML mails)
3. Secure Webform: Recipient updates info & clicks „Send”, creating an email back to you.
3. Address harvesting: This is a variation on address verification, where the user could instruct Outlook to request contact information from e-mail senders. The responses would automatically create new contact entries, making it easy to create contacts for people who send you mail. Likewise, Outlook might request contact information from people you send mail to, offering your information in exchange.I could script such an action quite easily in Lotus Notes. Can someone come up with something similar in Outlook? I don’t think so.
But I am still wondering, who would need such functionality? I got other things to do then answer such requests. And those people who would like to communicate with me send me their contact information in the first place.
4. RSS support: Outlook should know how to watch RSS feeds, gather the new items and present them as messages. Just like NewsGator (a $29 Outlook add-on) does.What for? I just won’t buy into this one size fits it all idea. I have one application that does mail, one for webbrowsing, one for newsgroups and one for rss feeds. And each of these applications does it’s job perfectly. I don’t need one all singing, all dancing application that does all these things but a lot worse than each single application.
5. Redirect: The problem with forwarding e-mail is it changes the „From:” address to that of the forwarding sender. Redirect keeps the „From:” address intact, making it easier for the person receiving the forwarded message to respond to the original sender. This would be a real help when you receive a message that should have gone to someone else. A nice touch would be for Outlook to send a message back to the original sender telling him or her of the redirect and a note to the recipients telling them the message had been redirected to them and why.WAKE UP !!! There are LOTS of other email applications out there, that do exactly that kind of thing. Redirect is one of the standard features in every normal mail-client. And send message as attachment so you can add some comments to the recipient is also a standard-feature in almost all mail-clients.
And why would I like to send a message back to the original sender telling him or her of the redirect? If I think he needs that information, I cc him on the forward.
6. Bounce: Sure I received the message, but send a bounce response to the sender. Maybe they will remove me from their list. Or maybe I’ll just upset someone whose e-mail address was hijacked to send me the spam. OK, maybe this isn’t such a good idea. Next
Get to learn the SMTP protocol. Then you will also understand, why this feature is not only a bad idea but also technically unfeasable.
10. Templates: Many of us respond to the same sorts of questions over and over. Outlook should allow users to easily store commonly used messages and snippets as templates that could be sent either as a new message or a response with only a keystroke or two whenever needed. There is a commercial product called Email Templates 5.0 that will do this and much more, but the basic functionality should be in Outlook as it ships.How about looking above the rim? Take for instance Pegasus Mail. Not only has it a powerful Glossary-Function for those paragraphs that come up regularly, but you also have a powerful template mechanism that together with the filters can automate quite a lot of you mailtraffic.
12. Mailing list management: I’d like the process of creating a rule for incoming newsletters to be streamlined. Select the e-mail, right-click, select „is a newsletter” and have Outlook create a folder as well as a rule for putting the newsletters into it. It would be nice to have it automatically deal with newsletters that sometimes come from different addresses.And how should Outlook identify this newsletter for filtering? By the subject, by the sender, by a hidden header-entry? Come on! Don’t tell me you can’t be bothered to manually create a folder and a rule, when you activly subscribe to a newsletter.
Pardon me, but a lot of the things you mentioned in you wishlist are either completely unnecessary or available in a more capable mail-client. Think about ditching Outlook, it only gets uphill from there. :D