Does your email need a sidebar?

I created this simple flowchart for a few colleagues at work to help determine if their email communications could be a single column or if it should have a two-column layout with a main column and a sidebar that has additional information. It’s a grossly oversimplified way to make that kind of decision, but we […]

Don’t Use Your ISP Email Address

Every internet service provider (ISP) that I’ve ever used (or anyone I know has used) provides you with an email address. It’s usually how you log into their website to access your account information, pay bills online, etc, so it makes sense that they do this. However, I’m going to take a stand and say dont’ use it!!!!

Switching ISPs

You might be asking “why not?” Well, the only reason you really need is the fact that you might switch ISPs at some point in the future. If you switch ISPs, what happens to your email account? Some ISPs might let you keep it, but it’s not really in their best interest to provide that service when you’re no longer paying them on a monthly basis. As anyone who has done it can attest, it’s a pain to change your email address.

Think of the hundreds of friends, family, websites, retailers, etc. that use your email address to communicate with you. Do you really remember every important website or service that you registered your email address with? They probably include your bank, utilities, social networks, shopping websites like Amazon.com, entertainment services like iTunes and Netflix, your college or school, your employer, various reward/loyalty clubs for stores, and the list goes on. If you switch ISPs, you’ve got to log in to each account and update your email address. What a pain!

Feature Limitations

I have yet to see an ISP’s email services match the feature set of top webmail services like Gmail.

IMAP vs POP3

Email services from many ISPs only support the POP3 standard instead of the IMAP standard. IMAP allows you to sync your email across multiple devices like your smartphone, desktop PC, laptop, tablet, etc. Any change you make on one device, such as deleting a message, will be reflected on all of the other devices. It also supports most email functions like moving messages into folders.

POP3 is more limited; it simply downloads a copy of an email when you open it on a device and either deletes it from the server (so it is only accessible on the device you first viewed it on) or leaves a copy on the server (so when you delete it from the device you viewed it on, it will actually still be on the server and all of your other devices). (more…)