Zawodny on New Yahoo! Mail

By Deane Barker on September 22, 2005

About the new Yahoo! Mail: Jeremy writes about the new Yahoo! Mail interface and has a great screenshot.

Oh, and if you look at that screenshot, you’ll see that there are over 42,000 messages in my inbox. The product still works well with a big volume of mail.

He includes links to several gushing reviews by third-parties. Could this be a legitimate replacement for the email client? Is Outlook doomed?

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  1. I hate that every new email products final goal is always to ‘replace outlook’. And the way they do it is by cloning outlook. How about some new features? That’s why people love gmail, the labels, the easy conversational threading, the easy searching.

    Instead we get screenshots that are just outlook in a browser.

    An off the top of my head list of things I’d love to see in an email application that aren’t there yet:

  2. tagging messages with the ability to search on tag intersections and exclusions. Being able to look at a single tag isn’t that helpful.
  3. The ability to display messages based on context: Show me work related messages, personal messages, blog messages. Let me quickly toggle between them and base it off how the contact is set up.
  4. Annotate messages. Let me stick a note on an email message “this is the email where bob tells you all about the thing you should buy”
  5. The ability to automatically handle certain types of emails. If I get an automated message that everything went right dump that into a folder somewhere tagged something so I can go back and look at the actual numbers (I have a lot of processes that tell me ‘I did X things today’. But if something went wrong then put it on top of my messages in big red letters.
  6. A good plugin architecture. So I can write a little plugin that let’s me add a todo Item to tada directly from the message (Outlook has this in a way, but it’s complicated)
  7. I’m sure theres more but you get the idea.

  8. I hate that every new email products final goal is always to ‘replace outlook’. And the way they do it is by cloning outlook. How about some new features?

    I agree in theory, but Outlook is the baseline that email clients need to get to. It’s a good reference implementation that everyone is familiar with.

    I’m reminded of this quote from Joel Spolsky that I referred to in my post about his book:

    I’ve seen companies where management prides themselves on doing things deliberately different from Microsoft. “Just because Microsoft does it, doesn’t mean it’s right,” they brag, and then proceed to create a gratuitouisly different interface from the one that people are used to. Before you start chanting the mantra “just because because Microsoft does it, doesn’t mean it’s right,” please consider two things.

    One, even if it’s not right, if Microsoft is doing it in a popular program like Word, Excel, Windows, or Internet Explorer, millions of people are going to think that it’s right, or at least fairly standard. […and] if you refuse to do it on some general religious principle that Bill Gates is the evil Smurf arch-nemesis Gargamel then you are just gratuitiously ruining your program so that you can feel smug and self-satisifed […]

    Two, don’t be so sure it’s not right. Microsoft spends more money on usability testing than you do; they keep detailed statistics based on millions of tech support phone calls; and there’s a darn good chance that they did it that way because more people can figure out how to use it that way.

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