An anti-Outlook groundswell that’s hard to ignore

It’s a hot topic, it involves a product many people hate, and it’s from a company that many love to hate.

It’s about Outlook, the ubiquitous Windows application from Microsoft for email, contacts, calendar, etc, a new version of which is coming next year.

Therein lie the issues, say the people behind Fixoutlook.org, centered on Microsoft’s intention to use the Word rendering engine to display HTML emails in Outlook 2010.

Why is this a big deal and what does it mean? This, they say:

[…] This means for the next 5 years your email designs will need tables for layout, have no support for CSS like float and position, no background images and lots more. Want proof? Here’s the same email in Outlook 2000 & 2010.

Outlook 2010 is still in beta and Microsoft wants your feedback. It’s time to rally together and encourage Microsoft to embrace web standards before it’s too late.

Let’s use Twitter to send a clear message to Microsoft.

And that’s what many people are doing – clicking the link on the screen and using Twitter to express an opinion.

Or rather, using Twitter to tweet the organizers’ pre-prepared message.

Help tell @msofficeus that using Word to render HTML emails in Outlook is a dumb idea. See http://fixoutlook.org and RT

Over 7,500 people have tweeted so far, many no doubt just clicking and sending that pre-prepared text (and how many, I wonder, understand or care enough about the issue to agree it’s a dumb idea?). This is not about quality, it’s about quantity.

The key point, though, is that here is an advocacy website that enables anyone who has even a tiny negative thought about Outlook to simply click and voice an opinion. So I added my voice but with my own text in the tweet.

(Let me add that I’ve had my issues with Outlook recently – see the links at the end of this post – but I have a pragmatic view about it along the lines of the devil you know, etc.)

Here’s who’s behind Fixoutlook.org according to the website:

This site is the brainchild of the Email Standards Project, an organisation working with email client developers and the design community to improve web standards support and accessibility in email.

The site development was funded and managed by Campaign Monitor, an email service provider for designers, and was built by Newism, an Australian web design and development company.

Ah, maybe not so much an advocacy effort as a marketing effort.

Still, the site is nicely done with the background Twitter avatars updating in real time as each new tweet registers.

Whether this will make any difference to anything remains to be seen – and Microsoft can hardly ignore it – but what a groundswell!

I’d say the ball is in Microsoft’s court at the moment.

(Via TechCrunch)

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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