I’ve been quiet on Gmail because I wasn’t sure it wasn’t an April Fool’s Day prank, but it appears that it’s not. The view seems to be that it’s simple, powerful and feature-packed.
What features could you put in webmail? Here are some I’ve seen referred to (see sources below):
- easy email threading, where connected emails are viewed, one atop the other;
- a green button at the bottom of the window indicating what mail is below the screen;
- use of keywords, not folders, to store relevant emails, based on content. These are called labels;
- ability to use Google search on your emails (including whole threads, not just individual messages). This issue has raised privacy concerns, which I’ll take a closer look at later);
- assign a star to an email and it gets assigned to a special starred folder;
- use of terms like ‘newer’ and ‘older’ rather than ‘forward’ and ‘back’ highlight attention to the user’s point of view;
- chevrons (>>) to distinguish between emails sent directly to the user or to a mailing list;
- ads don’t seem to be intrusive (for now); they pop up every 3 or 4 message pages. Often they’re ‘eerily relevant’ according to Kevin Fox of Fury.com;
- composing email will bring up relevant entries from your contact list;
- no ads appended to outgoing emails.