Appendix 11: Characteristics of an Email System - Teaching, Learning, Technology Roundtable - St. Cloud State University

Appendix 11: Characteristics of an Email System

An electronic mail environment should

  • provide access from all standard platforms
  • have a user interface with a common look and feel, supports graphics and provides message filtering
  • provide a centralized directory system
  • use a common lookup protocol (X500)
  • provide groupware functions
  • provide user mobility by supporting access from anywhere at any time, including remote access to address books and personal configurations
  • have a centrally stored message service with backup (with defined limits)
  • have defined client standards
  • possess standard-based functions for connectivity, message attachments and choice of server implementation

Regardless of the specific solution, there must be institutional support, adequate support for hardware, software and support personnel, along with necessary training for all SCSU users.

Specific desirable features include

  • ease of document enclosure (include graphics, GUI/CHUI)
  • distribution list capabilities
  • support for all platforms (micros, minis and/or gateway/interface)
  • mailing/directory systems and ease-of-use feature
  • unintended reply (auto-response saying "not here")
  • "reply" can include original message
  • notification of new messages (user option)
  • spell checker
  • extraction to file format and floppy disk on work station
  • storage/backup functions -- optional mainframe/server and/or work station
  • remote access through dialups
  • ability to send timed mail
  • easy lookup (yellow pages) of addresses
  • minimum (or list) of platforms supported for clients
  • minimum (or list) of platforms supported for server
  • capability to set Forward address
  • capable of handling MIME-formatted word-processed documents
  • easy to install
  • registration/certification with sending email messages
  • voice mail interface
  • priority service (as an option)
  • documentation online and in hard copy
  • use of aliases
  • fax capability -- in and out
  • confidentiality
  • read another's mail
  • forward copy, but keep original for user
  • filtering/sorting of incoming messages
  • POP3 compatible (user option on downloading/saving messages)