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What I Want in an Email Client
 

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First and foremost, since its the greatest source of disorganization and digital clutter in my worklife; I need an email program that steers me towards better organization and not away from it.

Let me be clear, files don't work. Once upon a time, someone developing Outlook or some other email interface thought it was the perfect analogy and thus the perfect way to organize emails. I'm guessing in those days, the average person didn't get 50-100 emails a day. Many, many biz types get much, much more than that.

Email is in trouble, folks. It's unwieldy and the next generation coming up in the business world would rather text, twitter, IM, do anything but email. I honestly can't blame them.

However, those other options can't replace email. They can't handle in depth communications or memos and, besides, they promote illiteracy. If email goes, so does grammar, punction and any hope of ever sharing a complete thought.

Somebody - Microsoft, Google, Eudora, Mozilla - somebody, please overhaul email as we know it.

Here's my wishlist:

- Make it simple. And, I want the web-based client to have all the same features and buttons as the desktop client.

- Don't bundle in a calendar. Just integrate with other calendaring programs that already exist.

- Lose the whole file folder metaphor. Just give me a toolbar strip at the top with some customized buttons that I can hit and send my emails to specific areas for recall, or to forward to someone else, or to push to an RSS feed to a work team.

- Let me have one simple interface that I can bang out a message of any length and then hit the appropriate button whether to send it out as an email, twitter, text or IM.

- I would be happy to delete more often, if I had a built in IM chat client directly linked to my ISP so I could request emails of old to be brought back from their server grave.

- Instead of filing emails (which I never do), let me tag them and then find them with a search engine built into my client.

- Give me a place to detach my attachments and assign who else can access them for collaboration. In other words, if only gmail and google docs & spreadsheets would have a baby.

- I like the window pane views of email. Let me switch between email and my RSS feeds in that same interace. Let me use the same toolbar tagging my emails for search later to tag postings in my RSS reader.

- Automatic encryption. Period.

- Don't just filter spam. I want a button that forwards it directly to my state's attorney general's office. When he or she gets four bazillion emails from that guy in Nigeria offering money, maybe something really will get done about it.

- I don't want to filter out just spam. I want to filter out entire countries. I don't know anyone in Sweden or Indonesia. If anything originates from there, chances are it's bad news. Nuke it.

- Make it customizable. I'm a chick and I like things to be pretty and personalized. If I want pink breast cancer awareness ribbons along the sides, let me have it. Or Texas bluebonnets. Or burnt orange UT logos. Or a colorful tie dyed look. Something besides the same, sterile boring interface I've been looking at since the mid-90s.

- I want a "mobilize this" button that translates whatever I'm working on in email to my cell phone. As it is, my cell phone, desktop client and my web-based client never have the same emails in the cue.

I don't ask for much. I could go on, but will save the rest of my list for version 2.0.

Last updated: Jan 15, 2008




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