“When the first email was sent in the 1970s, there was no big difference to email we know today. And that’s the problem.”
So begins this screed / manifesto written and posted by Tobias Van Schneider. Email, he says, has lived beyond its original purpose, and is being used by all of us in new and interesting ways. Web and social media technology continues to push beyond the original Berners-Lee concept of a world wide web of hyperlinked information, so why not do the same for email?
Let’s face it, there are no great email clients on the Mac. There are many that do a good job of one thing or another, but none that just scream, “perfect!” Mail becomes a bloated mess as soon as it starts to have to manage the huge volumes of electronic communication we ask it to these days. Sparrow is a decent start, but it, too, is bound by the trappings of email tradition and history. I’m with Van Schneider – it’s time for a change.
Broken down, the plan for a newly designed email client as Van Schneider envisions starts with a cleaning up of the interface, hiding the inessential functions of most email clients (that most people don’t even use), and laying things out with an eye to clean typography. The latter, he says, is most important as we spend half of our computer time reading and responding to email – why not have it work for us in a beautiful, functional way? That sounds pretty Apple-like, right?
Ultimately, the thrust of Van Schneider’s redesign plan for the modern email client revolves around what he calls Action Steps. Every email we get these days isn’t a static bit of information. Each and every email needs an action associated with it: schedule a meeting, follow up on a sales lead, remember to pick up the milk on the way home. Why not create an email client that can actually make these action steps visible and useful?
And, oh! One of my favorite concepts, right here: attachment management. How many photos do you have sitting in your email inbox, right now? I’m willing to bet it’s a ton. Pictures of children, friends, family, pets; all of these need to be pulled out one by one. Current email clients don’t differentiate attachments – a Word document is treated the same as a photo of a dearly departed family pet. Van Schnieder envisions a grid-like interface, with all attachments sent to you sorted by sender, date, or name – right in your email client. Seriously, let’s make this happen.
Van Schneider is a designer, not a coder, so he’s looking for folks that can help him make this a reality. He’s also looking for comments from you and me, so head on over to his website and let him know what you think. Or, heck, leave a comment below – it’s a fascinating concept. And? The time has come to make it a reality.
Source: .Mail | Tobias van Schneider.