Hotmail feedbacks, thoughts and suggestions

Hold on ! Will you dare reading this ?

You launched the new Hotmail last year with a promotional comparative advert against Gmail. This year you targetted Yahoo! with another comparative promotional website.

So as a technology journalist, avid Google Apps user, owner of the Yahoo! Mail group and former Microsoft MSN Premium MVP, I'm coming to you with my suggestions for Hotmail. But then will you dare reading me ?

UPDATES : 13-07-2011:
  • #9 - Aliases won't work
  • #12 - Let me make it smarter
  • 1 - Making it more visual

    The difference between the regular folder and the trash or the spam folder is not visible enough, even though some actions are attached to those last two specific folders

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    I would try to highlight the empty button like this:

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    2 - Simpler background

    I personnaly choose to list my messages withou preview pane. i'm not getting enough messages at glance when the preview pane is turned on should it be at the bottom or on the right side. This idea of minimalism is quite important to me and I wish I were able to choose a simple unicolor background image for the top header of Hotmail. Something neutral, not a picture, not a drawing, just a plain color theme... Just give us more choice.

    3 - Make the most of the Quick Links

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    A- Coming from Gmail, I wish I were able to actually customize those Quick Links. Just like Gmail enables me to bookmark a complex boolean internal query to quickly retrieve certain messages. I find it to be quite convenient.

    B- For example though I like to have an English interface, I'm French and do not need Shipping Updates which are primarily linked to US-based services

    C- Office Docs is cool but would it not be convenient to include PDF files, even though that's not a MS format ? What about music or audio files ? Stop the old Microsoft thinking, make it more flexbile.

    D- Also why should there be a number next to my flagged messages. Those are important messages that you want to have a quick access to, not some sort of task you know.

    E- The Photos shortcut is great but would it not be cooler if I obtained a gallery of all my pictures instead of a mere list of emails with photos attached to them ? I believe you have the potential not to screw where Yahoo! did after they bought Xoopit.

    4 - More keyboard shortcuts

    I'm sorry to refer to Gmail again, but I have to say their custom advanced keyboard shortcuts is great. One that I particularly like is the ability to quickly select/unselect unread messages.

    I'm just doing Shift+K (select) > K (mark as read) > Shift+K (Unselect). That's literally 2 seconds.

    I do know about CTRL+Q to mark as read but I need to quickly select those unread messages first with my keyboard.

    5 - Details are awesome

    One thing i like about Yahoo! Mail is the way they offer you to quickly empty the Trash or the Spam folder when hovering over them. In Hotmail this would look like :

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    6 - Bring back a real address book

    I get this one will probably be much more difficult to ask you, yet this is one of the most important requests. Where is my address book?

    No, it can't be those Contacts, which are merely Windows Live profiles

    That's a bumper. I dont get the feeling I can actually have control over my address book. I want to edit their details properly, be able to change their avatar photo...

    I don't necessarily want to be directed to their profile. I gives me a totally different environnement. I'm not in Hotmail anymore. I don't even want to see their background picture which compltely screw any anea of deep integration. Basically clicking on a contact would be like going to their Facebook profile except it's Windows Live instead

    Stop this. bring back a decent address book, deeply integrated into Hotmail.s

    7 - More characters for filters

    Being French and knowing absolutely no one in Asia. i want to be able to perform the action below to avoid spams.

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    8 - The calendar is not usable

    Though it does feel full featured a bug makes it unusable at all

    9 - Aliases won't work - updt

    upt : three days later, I received three confirmation emails, informing me that my aliases have been set up.

    I setup an alias to my main account and chose to receive those emails in my Inbox. Yet a new folder showed up and i deleted it. Also as other people reported earlier, emails sent to this address are being bounced.

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    10 - Minor

    Maybe this button (To) needs to be universally styled through CSS so that it looks the same whatever system is used. On my Mac it looks like :

    Hotmail

    11 - Mobile experience

    Owning a personal domain it would be nice to be able to choose the from-line from the Mobile version of Hotmail (like on Yahoo Mail mobile) or in Exchange (like I can do on Gmail). Right now that's a real bummer...

    12 - Let me make it smarter

    Why should there not be a way for me to actually mark a message as "not suspicious". I do not necessarily want to dig into Hotmail's options and manually add a domain to the whitelist. It looks like when I chose to display previosuly blocked images this domain is automatically added but in some case, Microsoft still retain some filtering rights.

    Look at the message below for example, I chose to display those images because I knew this was a legitimate email. Why should it look so suspicious again ?

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    ... But you did awesome stuff

    For instance when someone from Gmail sends me an invite to my Google App account, this notification is sent by email and forwarded to my Hotmail. From Hotmail I can easily add this appoinment to my Windows Live calendar even though it was originally meant to be added on a Google Apps Calendar. I'm not sure how this can be done, if comes from Google or from you, but it does not work when the invit has been forwarded to Yahoo!Mail/Yahoo!Calendar.

    Also the search engine is a killer. I do like the suggestions that are returned for each query. You did an amazing job here

    Exchange/ActiveSync support is a killer. To be honest I would say this is the most interesting technology Microsoft has ever come up with

    In fact I wrote a fairly positive review last year when I was part of the dogfood trial.

    Anyways i could go on and on but I guess I'll stop here. If you ever wanna get back to me, feel free. And BTW, happy 15 birthday!

    Guillaume B