Anyone who has worked with me for longer than a day knows how much I deplore email as a way to conduct business. It is a platform abused by many as a way to shirk responsibility for things they should just take care of themselves or to excuse themselves from helping at all. “If I just +Erik on this email it will serve in-place of a nice, pleasant phone call where I explain the context of the 40 pages of replies and forwards that linger just below my convenient addition of Erik to the ‘thread.'” Then when that +Erik email gets lost in the 100s of properly formatted, contextual emails that I actually read, the responsibility shirker is upset that I didn’t reply. Not because I didn’t want to but mainly because it looked unimportant based on the effort you put into it.
Geez, what were we even here to talk about? I know, sorry; I didn’t mean to get us so worked up.
We are here to talk about Outlook Online.
If your company or yourself are a subscriber to Office 365 services on Microsoft, I feel the email best interface you can get right now, application or web based, is hands-down, outlook.office.com (the new Outlook online interface.)
Why is this? For me, one reason, the search engine.
Because I do not organize email into folders but rather just send everything to “Archive,” having a great search function on that archive folder is vital to finding things I worked on last year and need to produce for some obscure request in a +Erik email. The genius behind the search function is that when you search, you are not nailing your laptop/desktop’s CPU to the cross to find that awesome-marketing-final.pptx from Karen. When you search through the Outlook Online interface, the results are damn near instant and the recommendation engine normally finds what I want and just puts it at the top.
A slight runner up in the “Reasons Outlook Online is awesome” category are the keyboard shortcuts. Microsoft has demonstrated great user sensing by adding the keyboard shortcuts from your other favorite online email experiences, including Gmail. So if you are like me and spam the ever-living hell out of “E” in gMail (or GMail? or Gmail?), you will be pleased to find out this works in Outlook Online as well.
Is Outlook Onilne as feature rich as a Windows Outlook App? Maybe not but I have not found a need to launch a Windows version of Outlook since using the online interface.