An attempt for a better mail client

I am a huge fan of mail clients. It was a time where I used to check every once in a while if new ones were available for my platforms. To tell the truth, I was rarely impressed.

What I found is that trends come and go, and devs tend to follow them blindlessly, mostly to get attention and money (the « mine is better than yours » addage). Sometimes, one stands out and got my particular attention. I’ll get to it in a minute. But right now, let’s review the competition.

Today, the trend is at action-based emails: set reminders, put them in your todo list for later review, file them in lists or folders, etc… We have Mailbox, Mail Pilot, Boxer, Dispatch… to name a few, while -sorry- they’re only for ios platforms. Another trend is at quick review clients, where you have your mails stacked and just flick through them quickly to get « inbox zero », the real trend behind them all.

mailbox_iphone_5_screens

triage_screenshots

Up there are in order of appearance: Mailbox and Triage for iOS

Stock mail clients are quite raw around the edges, some better than others. I didn’t try all of them but the most popular ones (android, ios…) and of course harmattan. They do the trick, but that’s all, no fancy here, just plain old mail management with no real advanced functionnality.

nexusae0_2013-10-31-22.34.48

Stock Android client

Do we want advanced functionalities ? Do we need « inbox zero » ? Or is there something else that could be done to be more productive on mobile devices ? Of course, some of us like lists or folders, some like « uncluttered », but did they have the opportunity to try… well, something else ?

That’s where I stumbled upon Unibox. It’s a mac only client with a particular, unique philosophy: sorting mails by « people » instead of « conversations ».

2014-05-11 at 18.21

Unibox for Mac, with it’s view “by people”

So simply put: you have a list of senders sorted by most recents, and choosing one show you *all* mails and conversations from him/her. Coupled with a good search engine, I believe this is a good workflow. Again, with the choice to sort by « people » or just « conversations » (have them both), this become a killer one. And that’s actually what lacks for Unibox in my eyes: an old conversation could be burried behind tons of new mails, even if they’re marked as « unread ». Quite a bummer that we tried to overcome in our new concept.

mail_main_view_mockup1

mail_main_view_mockup2

mail_main_view_mockup3

From top to bottom is older concept to newer one, aimed at simplicity.

Specs coming soon.

So basically, it’s two mail clients philosophy in one: people and conversations. The new, interesting concept and the old, legacy one.

I’ll let you judge by the screenshots, and encourage you to give your opinion or ask questions in the comments.

2 thoughts on “An attempt for a better mail client

  1. definately the last one looks more modern and better. I dont get the colors on the 1st image is it based on priority , and the size of the circles, what do they indicate?
    i am still patiently waiting for nemo and the glacier ui. Will it ever be available on the N9?. as i still use mine desperately waiting for it.

  2. I Strongly Dissagre on sorting mails in conversations.
    I think the best solution is classic conversation type sorting.
    Mails is not a chat – messages (conversation sorting -ok)
    To do a best mail client for Nemo we should copy a gmail app – with little tweaks . Make it as much similar as it is on PC.
    I would like you to help you with mockup – contact me on TMO. (same nickname).