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Microsoft (Outlook.com) user interface (UI)

The Microsoft user interface, referred to as Outlook.com, includes a variety of different features for managing email. These include:

  • Unsubscribe options
  • User notifications
  • Mail placement
  • Displayed images

Unsubscribe options

Outlook.com provides an unsubscribe option in its user interface that allows users to stop receiving email from a particular sender. When a user chooses to unsubscribe from a sender, it adds the sender to the user’s block list, which ensures no more email is received.

If Outlook.com recognizes the sender and knows it has a history of good sending practices, then it asks the sender to remove the user from their mailing list. This lets the sender know it should not keep trying to send email to that particular user.

List-Unsubscribe and Auto-Unsubscribe

List Unsubscribe is a method of unsubscribing that senders implement with an email header, or x-header. There are two options, an email version (mailto:) and a URL version. Outlook.com only enables the mailto: option. The URL version is not supported. 

There are two ways to access the List-Unsubscribe functionality:

  • Too many newsletters unsubscribe: Outlook.com displays the wording, “Too many newsletters” under the email. This wording is a hyperlink that links to a pop-up window which displays the List-Unsubscribe message. if the sender included it. It is important to note that the hyperlink is not a part of the email; it is a part of Outlook.com’s user interface.
  • Sweep Unsubscribe: Sweep is an Outlook.com feature that allows users to quickly delete all email from their inbox from a specific sender. The user can also choose to block the sender when using Sweep to delete emails.

    The Sweep feature has unique treatment in terms of feedback to the sender, which includes reputation. Outlook.com sends back the information through the sender’s List-Unsubscribe feedback if the sending IP address has a good reputation. Feedback is not sent for senders that do not have a List-Unsubscribe header. The process is triggered only when a message recipient elects to delete and block future messages using the pop-up window that appears.

    Outlook.com uses Sweep information as additional information to help understand the sender’s reputation and sending behaviors. Continually sending to subscribers have used the Sweep feature to unsubscribe does not hurt reputation in terms of complaints, however, it is a signal to Outlook.com that mail is being sent to recipients that are not engaged.

In both of these unsubscribe methods, the user sees a screen where they can click a button to confirm their choice.

If you wish to receive unsubscribe feedback from Outlook.com, then you must include a Request for Comment (RFC) 2369-compliant List-Unsubscribe header containing a mailto: address. Outlook.com only enables this feedback through email so URIs for other protocols, such as http, will be ignored. You must have good reputation and act promptly in removing users from their lists.

Also, Outlook.com does not provide unsubscribe feedback to senders when a user unsubscribes from an untrusted message or a message that fails authentication.

User notifications

There are two different warning bars that users may see appear in the Microsoft user interface; these warnings indicate a level of confidence associated with a particular sender’s mail. Here are the two warnings:

  • Red bar: A red bar typically occurs when a message fails the authentication check. This means the message came into Microsoft systems and went through a series of fraud checks and if the message failed any of these checks, then the red bar is displayed.
  • Yellow bar: A yellow bar typically occurs if the mail is forwarded and the From address domain does not match the sender. It also occurs if images are blocked.

Mail placement

Users can categorize mail as Junk and select from three different options to further classify it:

  • Junk: Routine, unwanted email
  • Phishing scam: Email that is trying to trick users into giving out personal information such as passwords, bank information, or Social Security number
  • My friend’s been hacked: Junk or phishing email from a sender they would normally trust

Images

Images are on by default for users receiving email from senders with good reputation.

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