Email wish list

Things I might find interesting in an email client or environment. Raw thoughts.

  • fast search
  • search inside encrypted emails
  • get related and linked stuff easily at any time during reading
  • easily organise windows and content, e.g.
    • when you select to reply to an email, put the draft next to the original so that you don’t need to switch windows
    • use a consistent style when commenting inline
  • easily create tasks and notes from parts of emails
  • organise / order following user’s workflow
    • by people, topic, tone of content, project, task, event
    • integrate with business process(es)
  • suggest while typing
    • spelling and grammar
    • references to other emails / notes / events / conversations
    • people to include as recipient
    • named entities
    • expansions of abbreviations
    • different tone of text by using templates
    • replacement text
  • find and use embedded machine-actionable information
  • explain what the client did to your experience
    • log observations and following actions by the mail user agent
    • show the reasons for suggesting stuff

The pain of plain (text emails)

Since the introduction of HTML email (must have been before my first email encounter), and especially now that internet speeds have gone up and computers are fast enough to render email in HTML, email has been HTML.

Since I switched to only looking at the plain text version of multipart/alternative emails, I see that HTML has become the default for many corporate emails.

I see HTML entities: © and   for which there are Unicode code points and UTF-8 representations.

I see:

Click here for more.

… without any URL that my email client could make clickable.

I see the opposite:

More URL than text
More URL than text

I see CSS, with hacks:

/* Client-specific Styles */
#outlook a{padding:0;} /* Force Outlook to provide a "view in browser" button. */
body{width:100% !important;} .ReadMsgBody{width:100%;} .ExternalClass{width:100%;} /* Force Hotmail to display emails at full width */
body{-webkit-text-size-adjust:none;} /* Prevent Webkit platforms from changing default text sizes. */
/* Reset Styles */
body{margin:0; padding:0;}
img{border:0; height:auto; line-height:100%; outline:none; text-decoration:none;}
table td{border-collapse:collapse;}
#backgroundTable{height:100% !important; margin:0; padding:0; width:100% !important;}
p {margin-top: 14px; margin-bottom: 14px;}
/* ////////// STANDARD STYLING: PREHEADER ////////// */
.preheaderContent div a:link, .preheaderContent div a:visited, /* Yahoo! Mail Override */ .preheaderContent div a .yshortcuts /* Yahoo! Mail Override */{
color: #3b6e8f;
.mainContent a:link, a:visited{
/* ////////// STANDARD STYLING: FOOTER LINKS ////////// */
.footerContent div a:link, .footerContent div a:visited, /* Yahoo! Mail Override */ .footerContent div a .yshortcuts /* Yahoo! Mail Override */{
/*@editable*/ color:#336699;
/*@editable*/ font-weight:normal;
/*@editable*/ text-decoration:underline;

And I see HTML:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<head><title>Uw bestelling bij Ticketscript</title>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8">
<table width="468">Beste Ben Companjen,

Come on, corporations, I am in business with you (these emails are results of me being a client of corporations’ services)! Please put some effort in serving your plain text email readers.