The forums are being retired in favor of a new help portal with improved knowlege base and direct access to support. - Please visit our new help portal for information and support.

My 1 Year Anniversary... And My Suggestions

Have a support question regarding ClearContext for Microsoft Outlook? Find help here. Be sure to include what version of Outlook and Windows you are using.

Moderator: ClearContext Support

My 1 Year Anniversary... And My Suggestions

Postby carl » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:14 pm

It's been over a year since I started using ClearContext, and a lot has happened since my initial evaluation back in July 2008. The ClearContext team has been extremely active with numerous releases, lots of fixes and improvements, some brand new features, and countless responses on the forums. When it comes to inbox/email/tasks management apps, there are some "dead" products out there, so it's great to be using a tool with active support and development.

With that in mind, and inspired by the announcement of ClearContext v5, as well as some inspiration from other users, I pulled together my list of suggestions for the upcoming release. These are based on my experience of actively using the product over the past 12+ months. Since I had a long list, I tried to group them into 3 buckets based on priority (IMHO). Comments and debate welcome...


PRIORITY "A" (MUST HAVE):
  • [A01]Obviously a more robust topic/thread management scheme that does not rely on the subject line text would help alleviate many issues described in the forums. I know this is in your v5 plans, and it has been mentioned many times in the forum. As part of this new scheme, it would be great to be able to split and merge threads on the fly, moving tasks/appointments/messages from one thread to another. Similarly, parts of a thread should be able to be assigned to different topic folders... The dialog box that today asks if I want to re-assign the whole thread could have an additional option that asks if I want to create a split point in the thread. This would assign all messages in the thread beyond the one being processed to the new topic.
  • [A02]A related request: Give us an easy way to manually add items (such as previously created tasks & appointments) to a thread so they appear in the message context window.
  • [A03] ClearContext Project Page improvement: Need option to see past appointments, not just future.
  • [A04] ClearContext Project Page improvement: Need to be able to add link to a project folder on the hard drive, maybe an icon at the top of the project page. Could have "Jump to Outlook Topic Folder" and "Jump to Explorer Project/Topic Folder"
  • [A05] ClearContext Project Page improvement: Need to be able to filter on flagged messages; ideal view would be "Inbox + Flagged" instead of "Inbox + Filed"
  • [A06]Need option to keep CC infrastructure folders (especially the "Defer" folders) in a PST file. At a minimum, let us have the Deferred items folder structure in a PST file. Often the items I want to defer have large attachments which I plan to read later (perfect use case for the Defer feature), but this can cause me to exceed my server size restrictions.
  • [A07]Need ability to manage topic names & folder locations better. Even something as simple as re-naming a topic folder cannot be done without a bunch of manual cleanup. One interface should rename the folder, update any existing auto-assign rules, move all appointments, tasks, messages, etc. to the new topic, etc.
  • [A08]We should be able to file original message, etc when forwarding. For some reason these actions are only available on Replies and Task/Appointment creation. This seems like an arbitrary limitation. Similarly, when I click the Delegate button for a message, I still can't file the original message because it is a essential forwarding it.
  • [A09]Need to be able to handle subjects with foreign characters and other characters for RE/FW such as 答复: These need to be recognized in the same thread and show up in the message context window. Maybe a more robust method of thread tracking that doesn't rely on subject lines will fix this. Today this causes me to miss critical messages because they don't get included in the message context for the thread. See this post for some additional discussion
  • [A10]AutoAssign rules should have the ability to mark messages as READ when moving to the topic folders. We should also have the option to move messages to the Deleted Items and/or Junk Mail folders as part of an AutoAssign rule.

PRIORITY "B" (IMPORTANT):
  • [B01]Need ability to file meeting responses, calendar invites, etc. Basically just need the ability to move any type of Outlook object to the topic folder, even if it is not fully support by other CC features (such as showing up in the thead context)
  • [B02]Bring back Outlook custom actions! Need to be able to assign CC topics, etc via Outlook rules.
  • [B03]Would be great to have a "File Thread" button available on the message/inspector window, not just on the explorer window. To go one step further, it would be great to have the ability to customize the message/inspector toolbars. Today you can only customize the explorer toolbars.
  • [B04]To avoid conflicts and lost changes, have CC warn the user when he or she attempts to file messages with unsaved changes, as described in this post, and also here.
  • [B05]Today, when CC creates follow up tasks when sending an email, it adds the prefix "Followup:" to the task subject. Make the prefix text configurable. Also, give us some prefix text for delegated tasks which is also configurable. Today, delegated tasks get no prefix, so they blend in with all the other tasks.
  • [B06]When creating tasks and appointments from emails, CC either include body text, or body text + original message as attachment. There is no option to include just the attachment without any body text (which is what I really want). Please add this option. There should also be an option to include nothing since theoretically it is all accessible through the Message Context view.
  • [B07]Create a true Undo option for filing. The Activity Log was a step in the right direction, would be great to go even further with an actual Undo button/menu selection.

PRIORITY "C" (NICE TO HAVE):
  • [C01]Give us access to CC topic names, thread info, etc. via Outlook VBA macros. This could be a sort of plug-in scheme like Redemption
  • [C02]Make the original message action preference "sticky" as opposed to constantly changing, as described here.
  • [C03]Update the CC-TopicName for all messages in the Inbox, Deferred items, Sent Items, and Topic folders whenever the topic is changed. Keeping the CC-TopicName field in sync with the thread database will allow us to filter and search on the CC-TopicName in our views. See discussion here.
  • [C04]For the CC installer, have the version info displayed on the installer window and maybe even baked into the download file name... I should know what version is going to be installed *before* I click the install button. Today, at no point in the installation process do you know what you're installing until after it’s all done, you open Outlook, then open the CC About dialog.
  • [C05]Give us a purge option so that old topics still lingering in the suggestions list can be removed.
  • [C06]Notification Managers: Right now you can only have one single rule in the notification dashboard that moves messages to the topic folder for that NM. This seems like an arbitrary limitation since the category assignment tabs allow multiple rules. Please allow multiple assignment rules on the NM dashboard.
  • [C07]The topic suggestion feature would be more useful if we had an option to let CC automatically assign the most likely suggestion, as described here. It would also be nice to be able to optionally move the message to the topic folder based on that assignment.
  • [C08]Change the search behavior of the drop-down topic selector in the main Outlook explorer toolbar to behave just like your topic selection dialog box. Typing a name in the drop-down selector only selects topic names that *begin* with those letters, so it is not nearly as useful as the topic selection dialog box. A similar thing should be done with the topic reminder dialog box that pops up when you forget to assign a topic to an outgoing message.
  • [C09]Give us an option to NOT set reminders for tasks created by ClearContext. I have enough windows popping up in my face already! OR, simply follow the Outlook option already set by the user for "Set reminders on tasks with due dates". In Outlook 2003, this is the check box under "Options --> Prefereces --> Task Options".
  • [C10]There are several places where CC allows you to assign a category to items (such as creating a follow upp task when sending a message). This is great… One way to make it even more useful is to match entries from the master category list as we start to type. This would give us the option to select an existing category without mis-typing it, or to keep typing a new category that isn't in the master category list.


Wow - Did you really read all the way down to the end of this post?! As always, thanks for listening!

-Carl

P.S. Maybe if someone is feeling creative, we could set up a Pligg site and let people submit ideas and vote the best ones to the top. Just a thought.
carl
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:14 am

Re: My 1 Year Anniversary... And My Suggestions

Postby deva » Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:59 pm

Carl,

Thanks so much for being such a great supporter of ClearContext and for taking the time to write up that great list of suggestions/requests. Your timing is also perfect, as we are currently in the process of finalizing the final feature set for ClearContext v5. As we wrote in our blog post, we'll be releasing it in a phased manner, with the initial release focused on infrastructure and filing changes. As part of developing each stage of v5, we'll be posting more detailed information on the blog and in the forums to get your feedback and help us make the best final product possible.

I'm going to respond to each of the points you outline in your post, but first we're going to post an overview of the changes we've made to the way filing works in ClearContext. That post will go up in the next day or two and will be relevant to some of the points in your post. We'll be very interested in your feedback on those changes.

After we make that blog post, I'll let you know the status and priority of each of the items you mention, and probably will have a few followup questions for you as well. Thanks again for taking the time to give us this great feedback, and I look forward to getting into more detail over the next couple of days.
deva
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:18 pm

Re: My 1 Year Anniversary... And My Suggestions

Postby carl » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:28 am

Deva -

My pleasure! ...and please don't feel the need to respond to each one. It's enough to know that you are considering them. Of course, I'd be happy to clarify any of them.

-Carl
carl
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:14 am

Re: My 1 Year Anniversary... And My Suggestions

Postby carl » Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:57 pm

One more "nice to have" item:

[C11] When customizing the toolbar, would be nice to have the ability to hide the text and show only buttons in order to make maximum use of screen space. Would be great to have the choice on a button by button basis. The shortcut keys may not work on those buttons, but that's okay. This would go hand-in-hand with the request to customize the message/inspector toolbars, in addition to the explorer toolbars.

-Carl
carl
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:14 am

Postby Scott - CC Support » Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:47 pm

Thanks again for your suggestions, Carl.
Scott - CC Support
 
Posts: 1361
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 1:22 pm

Re: My 1 Year Anniversary... And My Suggestions

Postby deva » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:19 pm

Carl,

Have been away from this thread a bit while we've gotten closer to finalizing our v5 plans. Hopefully our blog posts have answered many of your questions. Here's a quick run-through some of the items in your post.

* [A01]Obviously a more robust topic/thread management scheme
--that will be ongoing, but 5.0 release will have some good improvements

* [A02]A related request: Give us an easy way to manually add items (such as previously created tasks & appointments) to a thread so they appear in the message context window.
--advanced linking of items in message context and dashboards are being looked at for 5.1

* [A03] ClearContext Project Page improvement: Need option to see past appointments, not just future.
* [A04] ClearContext Project Page improvement: Need to be able to add link to a project folder on the hard drive
* [A05] ClearContext Project Page improvement: Need to be able to filter on flagged messages;
--these and much more are being looked at for 5.1. We'll have a detailed Project/Dashboard focused post detailing 5.1 plans in mid-October.

* [A06]Need option to keep CC infrastructure folders (especially the "Defer" folders) in a PST file.
--there are technical reasons why these might need to stay in the same place as the primary inbox, but we are looking at ways to be more flexible if possible.

* [A07]Need ability to manage topic names & folder locations better. E
--this will be a main feature in 5.1

* [A08]We should be able to file original message, etc when forwarding.
--done in 5.0

* [A09]Need to be able to handle subjects with foreign characters and other characters for RE/FW
--5.0 will use Outlook's conversation management, so this should be handled a lot better

* [A10]AutoAssign rules should have the ability to mark messages as READ when moving to the topic folders.
--this is a little ways out, but AutoAssign will be revamped signficantly in either 5.1 or 5.2

* [B01]Need ability to file meeting responses, calendar invites, etc.
--working on expanding to work with as many different object types as possible. ongoing project that should improve with each release.

* [B02]Bring back Outlook custom actions! Need to be able to assign CC topics, etc via Outlook rules.
--not doing this in 5.0, but we will evaluate scope of this project as part of 5.1 and 5.2 and have more info then.

* [B03]Would be great to have a "File Thread" button available on the message/inspector window
--no plans for this, but looking into making toolbars across the app more flexible

* [B04]To avoid conflicts and lost changes
--as detailed in some of our blog posts, the way we handle messages now should really minimize conflicts

* [B05]Today, when CC creates follow up tasks
* [B06]When creating tasks and appointments from emails
--task and other project-oriented workflow changes will be addressed in 5.1


* [B07]Create a true Undo option for filing.
--working on this for 5.0

Many of the C issues don't really apply anymore with the new architecture of v5, but a few comments:

* [C05]Give us a purge option so that old topics still lingering in the suggestions list can be removed.
--this should no longer be an issue in 5.0

* [C06]Notification Managers:
--NMs will be overhauled in 5.2

* [C07]The topic suggestion feature would be more useful if we had an option to let CC automatically assign the most likely suggestion
* [C08]Change the search behavior of the drop-down topic selector in the main Outlook explorer toolbar to behave just like your topic selection dialog box.
--sounds like you'll like the way suggestions and filing work in 5.0!

Thanks again for all the feedback and suggestions!
deva
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:18 pm

Re: My 1 Year Anniversary... And My Suggestions

Postby carl » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:39 pm

Deva - Thanks for the detailed responses! I'm still stuck on OL2003, so I'm not able to try the 5.0 beta just yet. It sounds like a nice set of improvements from a feature and performance perspective. I'm looking forward to the 5.0 release!

-Carl
carl
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:14 am

Re: My 1 Year Anniversary... And My Suggestions

Postby premagination » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:39 am

Just wanted to let you know I'm looking forward to the Undo function, sometimes I get in a filing mood and end up filing something I didn't intend.

Thanks!

Drew
premagination
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 10:21 am


Return to ClearContext Professional Features & Support

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 0 guests

cron