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A messaging user’s wish list

May 01, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* What Michael Osterman wants in his messaging system

As a user of messaging on an almost constant basis, there are capabilities I’d like to have in a messaging system – some of which admittedly might be available in systems that I don’t use. Here’s my wish list, based on the way I work.

* Selective attachment send capability. Sometimes I want to send an e-mail with an attachment to multiple recipients, but I want only some recipients to receive the attachment, while the rest need to know only that I have sent the attachment. It would be useful to have the ability to specify which recipients actually receive the attachment and which receive only the e-mail. Without this capability, my options are to have all recipients receive the attachment (a pain for traveling users on a dial-up connection) or to send a second e-mail to those who did not need the attachment, informing them it was sent, which takes extra time.

* Tighter integration of instant messaging and e-mail. One benefit of tighter integration of these two communications media would be that my e-mail client would give me the option of sending an instant message when I am composing an e-mail message. For example, if I selected a recipient from the directory and then started composing e-mail, a “Send as IM” button would appear in the e-mail button bar if the messaging system detected the recipient’s presence online. This would allow me to send my e-mail as an instant message without having to check the presence status of the recipient.

* Control over external image display. As mentioned in a recent column, it would be very useful to have the ability to prevent externally referenced images from automatically loading in HTML e-mail. Further, it would be nice to have a “trusted” list of HTML senders, so that only external images in HTML e-mail from those senders would appear and not from those that were not on the list.

I’d like to get your list of desired features for either e-mail or instant messaging systems. Please drop me a line at