straw poll: best messaging user experience

10 Oct 2007 - 11:11am
7 years ago
28 replies
753 reads
Billie Mandel
2005

To my wise and ever-so-opinionated peers - I need your opinions:

What are the best/your favorite/the most compelling messaging user
experiences out there today? I'm talking email/text messaging/etc, for
PC or mobile. What stands out from the crowd, from a design
perspective?

Thanks, and happy Wednesday,
-Billie

* * * * * * *
Billie Mandel | Manager, User Experience Design & Research | OPENWAVE |
billie.mandel at openwave.com

Comments

10 Oct 2007 - 11:24am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> What are the best/your favorite/the most compelling messaging user
> experiences out there today?

Email: Gmail, hands down
Messaging: Adium (Mac only) (but even that needs some work)

Of course, I'm really enjoying IM and text messaging on the iPhone.

-r-

10 Oct 2007 - 11:45am
.pauric
2006

From the perspective of someone who works with both offshored and outsourced vendors. Email is the best for accountability, unfortunately the enterprise client is Notes which sucks harder than a dyson.

For day to day itteration work, IRC for an office like discussion (unsecure though) and skype for IM/Voice detail orientated conversations. I use adium but will try to get peers over to skype.

From a design perspective, with dedicated hardware like the Philips VOIP8411B which will also plug in to your 19th century lines along side skype-in/out, the easy progression from im to voice, easy group IM etc etc.. I find its the best all round communications solution.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21336

10 Oct 2007 - 12:13pm
Billie Mandel
2005

All good feedback so far... but one clarifying question - for the
products you guys like/don't like, can you please share WHY? ("Would you
please think out loud, sir?" Bad researcher, no donut...)

Thanks so much!
-Billie

10 Oct 2007 - 11:43am
Anonymous

I personally hate gmail, and Google Talk for that matter. They try to be too
slick rolling everything up, and its just plain confusing.

I think Yahoo is the best web based email.

-MDS

On 10/10/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
>
> > What are the best/your favorite/the most compelling messaging user
> > experiences out there today?
>
> Email: Gmail, hands down
> Messaging: Adium (Mac only) (but even that needs some work)
>
> Of course, I'm really enjoying IM and text messaging on the iPhone.
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
>

10 Oct 2007 - 12:24pm
Anonymous

As far as gmail I don't like that they have buttons and links everywhere.
'Send, Save Now, Discard 'at the top. A 'Reply / Reply All dropdown on the
right side of the page. More 'Reply, Reply to All, Forward' at the
bottom. And then there's 'Show quoted text, Show details' links. It just
never ends.

Conversely, Yahoo has all the button in one place at the top of the screen.

On 10/10/07, Billie Mandel <Billie.Mandel at openwave.com> wrote:
>
> All good feedback so far... but one clarifying question - for the
> products you guys like/don't like, can you please share WHY? ("Would you
> please think out loud, sir?" Bad researcher, no donut...)
>
> Thanks so much!
> -Billie
>
> ________________________________________
> From: Mike Scarpiello [mailto: mscarpiello at gmail.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 10:44 AM
> To: Robert Hoekman, Jr.
> Cc: Billie Mandel; IxDA
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] straw poll: best messaging user experience
>
> I personally hate gmail, and Google Talk for that matter. They try to be
> too slick rolling everything up, and its just plain confusing.
>
> I think Yahoo is the best web based email.
>
> -MDS
> On 10/10/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <robert at rhjr.net > wrote:
> > What are the best/your favorite/the most compelling messaging user
> > experiences out there today?
>
> Email: Gmail, hands down
> Messaging: Adium (Mac only) (but even that needs some work)
>
> Of course, I'm really enjoying IM and text messaging on the iPhone.
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
>
>

10 Oct 2007 - 12:36pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

That's interesting.. one of the things I like about gmail is that
there's always more than one way to get at a control... that way I
don't have to look for the buttons, they're always where i need them.

It's the same reason I like gmail's labels rather than more
traditional folders.. 1 to 1 categorization doesn't really work all
the time...

On 10/10/07, Mike Scarpiello <mscarpiello at gmail.com> wrote:
> As far as gmail I don't like that they have buttons and links everywhere.
> 'Send, Save Now, Discard 'at the top. A 'Reply / Reply All dropdown on the
> right side of the page. More 'Reply, Reply to All, Forward' at the
> bottom. And then there's 'Show quoted text, Show details' links. It just
> never ends.
>
> Conversely, Yahoo has all the button in one place at the top of the screen.

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
email/gtalk: mattnl at gmail.com
++
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattnl
Home: http://www.nishlapidus.com

10 Oct 2007 - 12:58pm
lachica
2006

Gmail is essential for managing this list. I would not be able to keep up if
Gmail did not collapse the 50 responses to one IxDA topic into one line in
my inbox!

Messaging apps all seem pretty user friendly. We have Sametime at work and
the one drawback is that I haven't figured out how to save the conversation
thread. Most of the other apps I have used do this automatically or offer
and easy way to save your conversation as a text file.

Cheers,
Julie

On 10/10/07, Matthew Nish-Lapidus <mattnl at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> That's interesting.. one of the things I like about gmail is that
> there's always more than one way to get at a control... that way I
> don't have to look for the buttons, they're always where i need them.
>
> It's the same reason I like gmail's labels rather than more
> traditional folders.. 1 to 1 categorization doesn't really work all
> the time...
>
>
> On 10/10/07, Mike Scarpiello <mscarpiello at gmail.com> wrote:
> > As far as gmail I don't like that they have buttons and links
> everywhere.
> > 'Send, Save Now, Discard 'at the top. A 'Reply / Reply All dropdown on
> the
> > right side of the page. More 'Reply, Reply to All, Forward' at the
> > bottom. And then there's 'Show quoted text, Show details' links. It
> just
> > never ends.
> >
> > Conversely, Yahoo has all the button in one place at the top of the
> screen.
>
> --
> Matt Nish-Lapidus
> email/gtalk: mattnl at gmail.com
> ++
> LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattnl
> Home: http://www.nishlapidus.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
>

10 Oct 2007 - 1:00pm
Phillip Hunter
2006

> It's the same reason I like gmail's labels rather than more
> traditional folders.. 1 to 1 categorization doesn't really work all
> the time...

Yes, I was so happy to see the gmail labels. Single folders for email *and*
documents has always driven me crazy.

ph

10 Oct 2007 - 1:03pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> One more thing - gmail has no folders - just that labeling thing ,which
> means all 2000 of your email are always in your inbox.

Set up some filters. I tell everything from this and other discussion
lists, for example, to "Skip the inbox" and apply the label
"Discussions". Works like a charm.

To clarify my earlier answer about Gmail:

I love Gmail because it's the first webmail client I've seen and used
heavily that didn't try to simply move a desktop paradigm to the web
(like Yahoo! does). I'm so tired of webmail apps that are exact (or at
least close) replicas of desktop equivalents. The web is a different
animal, and it should be treated as such.

Also, I love the idea of labeling email instead of sticking it into
folders. The folder model is severely broken. It's an implementation
model - it just reflects the design of the underlying system. But I'm
don't think like a computer - I think like me. I want to categorize
things in a variety of ways, not just into singular folders. Foldering
is an old metaphor that has lived on way too long.

And I love that conversations are put together into a single thread on
a single page. This is how real conversations happen, and it makes
sense, and it means I don't have to remember the context for every
message.

-r-

10 Oct 2007 - 1:10pm
Peyush Agarwal
2007

I have use msn, yahoo, google talk, and pidgin recently.

MSN started out nice and simple, but I REALLY dislike how it's gotten over-rendered - the percentage of pure chat space has reduced against icons, toolbars, junk-bars etc.

Yahoo was too cluttered and also over-rendered.

I like GTalk because it minimizes the real estate coverage while maximizing the chat space. Very clean. Also really like that if you close one chat, others adjust to coalesce together so you don't have to keep organizing the windows.

Pidgin has the singular advantage in aggregating all the various ones in one, but it's UI needs some polish.

-Peyush

10 Oct 2007 - 2:25pm
Peter Merholz
2004

Apple's iChat - the text messaging experience is admittedly middle-of-
the-road, but the ease of voice and video chat is unparalleled. I
hate using Skype for voice chat because iChat is just so much easier.
(i.e., it *just works*)

iPhone's SMS - it's my first phone with threaded SMS discussions (I
guess others do this, but I've never had one), and it's
implementation is a dream. I love tracking conversations. There are
some unfortunate drawbacks with iPhone SMS (you can send one text to
multiple people is the most egregious), but they are minor compared
to the ease and slickness (and I mean that positively) of the
experience.

Email still seems stuck in the Eudora days. For those who grok Gmail,
it seems great, but it's definitely not to all tastes (e.g., mine.)

--peter
On Oct 10, 2007, at 10:11 AM, Billie Mandel wrote:

> To my wise and ever-so-opinionated peers - I need your opinions:
>
> What are the best/your favorite/the most compelling messaging user
> experiences out there today? I'm talking email/text messaging/etc,
> for
> PC or mobile. What stands out from the crowd, from a design
> perspective?
>
> Thanks, and happy Wednesday,
> -Billie
>
> * * * * * * *
> Billie Mandel | Manager, User Experience Design & Research |
> OPENWAVE |
> billie.mandel at openwave.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help

10 Oct 2007 - 2:39pm
biankamcgovern@...
2007

Although I like gmail a lot, I do miss the folders. I like archiving,
getting rid of emails in the inbox. I don't understand why the folder
model is supposed to be broken. It's not exactly a reflection of the
underlying system. It's a metaphor taken from real life.
Interestingly, in real life we don't usually label the things we want
to archive, we put things into boxes, drawers, folders and label these
containers. Just because foldering is an old metaphor it doesn't mean
it's bad. In fact, it might be a great metaphor since it's been
successful for a long time. I survive by labeling everything and then
archiving it. I also set filters, but they don't always work,
interestingly. Labeling is a good way of categorizing emails but it
shouldn't replace foldering necessarily.

Also, why does the web have to be different from the desktop? Why not
take working paradigms from the desktop and implement them into the
web? In a few years we won't talk about "desktop" and "web" anymore,
it will all be the same animal.

B.

On 10/10/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
> > One more thing - gmail has no folders - just that labeling thing ,which
> > means all 2000 of your email are always in your inbox.
>
> Set up some filters. I tell everything from this and other discussion
> lists, for example, to "Skip the inbox" and apply the label
> "Discussions". Works like a charm.
>
> To clarify my earlier answer about Gmail:
>
> I love Gmail because it's the first webmail client I've seen and used
> heavily that didn't try to simply move a desktop paradigm to the web
> (like Yahoo! does). I'm so tired of webmail apps that are exact (or at
> least close) replicas of desktop equivalents. The web is a different
> animal, and it should be treated as such.
>
> Also, I love the idea of labeling email instead of sticking it into
> folders. The folder model is severely broken. It's an implementation
> model - it just reflects the design of the underlying system. But I'm
> don't think like a computer - I think like me. I want to categorize
> things in a variety of ways, not just into singular folders. Foldering
> is an old metaphor that has lived on way too long.
>
> And I love that conversations are put together into a single thread on
> a single page. This is how real conversations happen, and it makes
> sense, and it means I don't have to remember the context for every
> message.
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
>

10 Oct 2007 - 2:46pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

I'd argue that folders are broken on the desktop too.. which is why
your see Mac OSX moving towards saved smart folders (searches) based
on metadata.. and of course MS followed suit in Vista.

Labels/tags can be used in the same way as folders, but it allows data
to exists in more than one category. That way I don't have to
remember where I put everything, I can look where I think it should
be.

When you put a piece of data in a category in a one to one
relationship you have to search/hunt around to find that data again
after.. especially if it could easily fit under more than one category
header.

I'd rather have data where I want to look for it then have to remember
it's structure every time.

For instance, when I bookmark a site in my browser i have to choose a
folder.. if the site is about design, the web, and usability, which
folder does it go in? If I tag it with all three then I will find it
when I'm looking for content based on any of those words, based on the
context when I need it again.

On 10/10/07, Bianka McGovern <biankamcgovern at gmail.com> wrote:
> Although I like gmail a lot, I do miss the folders. I like archiving,
> getting rid of emails in the inbox. I don't understand why the folder
> model is supposed to be broken. It's not exactly a reflection of the
> underlying system. It's a metaphor taken from real life.
> Interestingly, in real life we don't usually label the things we want
> to archive, we put things into boxes, drawers, folders and label these
> containers. Just because foldering is an old metaphor it doesn't mean
> it's bad. In fact, it might be a great metaphor since it's been
> successful for a long time. I survive by labeling everything and then
> archiving it. I also set filters, but they don't always work,
> interestingly. Labeling is a good way of categorizing emails but it
> shouldn't replace foldering necessarily.
>
> Also, why does the web have to be different from the desktop? Why not
> take working paradigms from the desktop and implement them into the
> web? In a few years we won't talk about "desktop" and "web" anymore,
> it will all be the same animal.
>
> B.

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
email/gtalk: mattnl at gmail.com
++
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattnl
Home: http://www.nishlapidus.com

10 Oct 2007 - 2:55pm
David Mulder
2007

The best email user experience I have had is gmail.

My favorite text message experience is with the iPhone.

10 Oct 2007 - 3:08pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Well Bill, some great comments above that you got. It might be interested to
put some parameters on this "messaging" experience. I have several excellent
messaging experiences but they are all so contextualized. I'll try to put a
few of them here.

Gmail from the desktop browser (not mobile):
it's great b/c I use all 4 of my accounts from here (1 gmail and 3 private
addresses). it is so seamless to me. Much better than my previous
experiences with other web mail clients.

I love the conversation view of Gmail. I know you CAN do this w/ other
clients, but the fact that it si defaulted and works so fluidly is great.

B/c I rely so heavily on mobile email I have a HUGE complaint with Gmail.
(this was the same from my iPHone as it is from my Treo) using either thick
client. Gmail has a single mailbox paradigm where even "inbox" is really a
label of tag on your conversations. What this means is that everything
except for trash and spam are all accessed through the pop client that you
have to use with the iPhone and other similar systems. This means that even
if I say, "skip inbox" I still get it in pop. Or worse, I get every message
I send!!!! as well. This is just not good and I often think about going back
in time to a place where I didn't use Gmail just b/c of this issue.

To be clear I had similar management annoyances w/ my blackberry as well.
Further in all cases it is really hard to manage both my business and my
personal emails together.

Outlook (no one mentioned outlook)
I have a love/hate relationship with outlook. For work context it is the
best email client I have ever used. The melding of contacts, email,
calendar, tasks, and notes is just right in my mind and the only comparable
system is Notes which is biggest nightmare on the planet (IBM should be sued
for continuing this product).

RSS
This is a messaging system to me. It doesn't message back, but it does
message in and it is one of the best means of organizing all the content I
get in my life. People talked about how Gmail allows them to use this list.
Google Reader (my specific choice for RSS feed reading) is my secret weapon.
I love the feeds and the way I can tag and organize and share feeds. A click
and I'm at a web site (the out portion) and can type this lovely message to
you all.

desktop messaging
I've been growingly using Twitter for direct short text messaging. I love
that it can go to 3 different destinations at the same time or per the
user's choice. I especially love doing directs to my list buddy Daniel Szuc
who otherwise I could never afford to SMS considering he is in Hong Kong.
But sometimes he gets it in the browser, in IM or in some custom app like
Spaz.
It is bad b/c it is stuck in the lame world of 140 character limits, which
is quite limiting for someone who loves run-ons as much as I do.

Instant Messaging in general is great and I use Meebo as my client du jour.
Why? it is web based and goes past my corp firewall. That simple. Someone
mentioned adium and I loved that.

Mobile SMS
iPhone just rocks. My treo tracked conversations as well and had the
advantage of sending to multiple people, but I don't miss it as much as
peter me does.

Facebook is the newest messaging in my life and I Have to say I like it.
I love status checking and I like the facebook mail for a lot of what I do
now with my friends on facebook. It feels more relaxed.

Again, I think you need to be more specific as to the following:
context
is this about usability, features, everything?

-- dave

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

10 Oct 2007 - 3:34pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> I don't understand why the folder
> model is supposed to be broken. It's not exactly a reflection of the
> underlying system. It's a metaphor taken from real life.

The metaphor is what originally dictated how the system was built, but
the result is a weak system regardless.

We're not dealing with physical objects here - we don't have to put
things in drawers and boxes. Computers are capable of doing this great
thing that we can't do with physical objects - keep them in multiple
places - so why stick to the old metaphor when a new one can be so
clearly superior?

> Interestingly, in real life we don't usually label the things we want
> to archive, we put things into boxes, drawers, folders and label these
> containers. Just because foldering is an old metaphor it doesn't mean
> it's bad. In fact, it might be a great metaphor since it's been
> successful for a long time.

I'm not saying it's a bad metaphor. I'm saying it results in a system
that doesn't live up to its potential. Tagging (or "labeling") is the
next logical step and we should pursue it further instead of clinging
to the old model just because it's worked in the past.

> Also, why does the web have to be different from the desktop? Why not
> take working paradigms from the desktop and implement them into the
> web?

Because the web has constraints the desktop simply doesn't have. It's
far better to build a system that works within its environment than
one that is forcefully crow-barred into a format that isn't
necessarily appropriate for it.

Embracing the constraints of the web can force more creative solutions
that move us forward. Gmail is a great example of this. To build a
faster webmail client, Google conslidated conversations into a single
thread. To eliminate the heavy functionality that goes along with
foldering, they used a tag-based method that is light, and as an added
bonus, it has benefits well beyond foldering. By building something
specifically for the web environment (instead of copying desktop
designs), they came up with something that works better on the web
than most mail clients do on the desktop.

> In a few years we won't talk about "desktop" and "web" anymore,
> it will all be the same animal.

And I hope you're right, but that's not the case at the moment, and I
think that if we're going to get there, we need to be able to deal
with the constraints we have with both platforms right now in order to
unite them.

-r-

10 Oct 2007 - 3:39pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> I'd argue that folders are broken on the desktop too.

Definitely. It's the same problem. I'd so love to be able to tag files
and just keep my most-used tags on the desktop instead of a bunch of
folder aliases. I want to be able to find data the way I *think* of
the data and the way I *need* it rather than by sorting through the
system's mandated organizational structure to remember how I named and
saved it at some point in history.

> Labels/tags can be used in the same way as folders, but it allows data
> to exists in more than one category. That way I don't have to
> remember where I put everything, I can look where I think it should
> be.

Exactly!

-r-

10 Oct 2007 - 3:53pm
biankamcgovern@...
2007

The advantages of labeling are clear, but one paradigm doesn't have to
exclude the other. Labeling and foldering can happily co-exist and I
think that's what missing for me when using Gmail. I understand
"folder" as a container filled with information. I'm not longing for
yellow folder icons but I'm sure one could come up with an intelligent
solution which could satisfy my archiving obsession and the need to
categorize things.

On 10/10/07, Matthew Nish-Lapidus <mattnl at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'd argue that folders are broken on the desktop too.. which is why
> your see Mac OSX moving towards saved smart folders (searches) based
> on metadata.. and of course MS followed suit in Vista.
>
> Labels/tags can be used in the same way as folders, but it allows data
> to exists in more than one category. That way I don't have to
> remember where I put everything, I can look where I think it should
> be.
>
> When you put a piece of data in a category in a one to one
> relationship you have to search/hunt around to find that data again
> after.. especially if it could easily fit under more than one category
> header.
>
> I'd rather have data where I want to look for it then have to remember
> it's structure every time.
>
> For instance, when I bookmark a site in my browser i have to choose a
> folder.. if the site is about design, the web, and usability, which
> folder does it go in? If I tag it with all three then I will find it
> when I'm looking for content based on any of those words, based on the
> context when I need it again.
>
>
>
> On 10/10/07, Bianka McGovern <biankamcgovern at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Although I like gmail a lot, I do miss the folders. I like archiving,
> > getting rid of emails in the inbox. I don't understand why the folder
> > model is supposed to be broken. It's not exactly a reflection of the
> > underlying system. It's a metaphor taken from real life.
> > Interestingly, in real life we don't usually label the things we want
> > to archive, we put things into boxes, drawers, folders and label these
> > containers. Just because foldering is an old metaphor it doesn't mean
> > it's bad. In fact, it might be a great metaphor since it's been
> > successful for a long time. I survive by labeling everything and then
> > archiving it. I also set filters, but they don't always work,
> > interestingly. Labeling is a good way of categorizing emails but it
> > shouldn't replace foldering necessarily.
> >
> > Also, why does the web have to be different from the desktop? Why not
> > take working paradigms from the desktop and implement them into the
> > web? In a few years we won't talk about "desktop" and "web" anymore,
> > it will all be the same animal.
> >
> > B.
>
> --
> Matt Nish-Lapidus
> email/gtalk: mattnl at gmail.com
> ++
> LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattnl
> Home: http://www.nishlapidus.com
>

10 Oct 2007 - 3:58pm
Katie Albers
2005

I'm not big on metaphors...most of them at some point stop being
relevant. That being said, the purpose of folders is not entirely
fulfilled by tagging. Tagging enables multiple sorting and finding
(And keep in mind that it is entirely possible that none of the tags
you apply today will ring a bell tomorrow. So it doesn't *solve* the
multiple concepts problem.). Folders enable sorting, finding AND
STORING. And one of the biggest impediments to locating anything is
having visibility of things that are not going to be relevant.

This is why I alias the living daylights out of just about
everything...mail, files, even folders. That enables me to access a
particular item from just about anywhere my mind is holding it at the
moment (which still doesn't solve the "my brain just made up a new
category" problem).

I find, though, that being confronted by a plethora of messages or
files or whatever at any stage causes my brain to choke quickly.

On an issue no one has brought up: Although the interfaces and
capabilities of web-based mail clients are mostly pretty good -- to a
greater or lesser degree -- they are all web-based. I want my mail on
MY machine. I don't want to have to believe in Google's legal
department to keep it out of the hands of the feds if there's a
cracker somewhere using Gmail. I don't want to rely on their servers
all being just fine...etc., etc., etc. I may be paranoid...and yes, I
do understand that privacy is a pretty myth...but I still want to
control it from my machine and my server. In any case, the idea that
MY email is on Some Other Machine, immediately makes it a poorer user
experience.

And all of that leads me to be a devoted Eudora user...and a very bad
rational critic thereof. I've been using it so long, I no longer
notice if something could be done better.

Katie

At 2:34 PM -0700 10/10/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:
> > I don't understand why the folder
>> model is supposed to be broken. It's not exactly a reflection of the
>> underlying system. It's a metaphor taken from real life.
>
>The metaphor is what originally dictated how the system was built, but
>the result is a weak system regardless.
>
>We're not dealing with physical objects here - we don't have to put
>things in drawers and boxes. Computers are capable of doing this great
>thing that we can't do with physical objects - keep them in multiple
>places - so why stick to the old metaphor when a new one can be so
>clearly superior?
>
>> Interestingly, in real life we don't usually label the things we want
>> to archive, we put things into boxes, drawers, folders and label these
>> containers. Just because foldering is an old metaphor it doesn't mean
>> it's bad. In fact, it might be a great metaphor since it's been
>> successful for a long time.
>
>I'm not saying it's a bad metaphor. I'm saying it results in a system
>that doesn't live up to its potential. Tagging (or "labeling") is the
>next logical step and we should pursue it further instead of clinging
>to the old model just because it's worked in the past.
>
>> Also, why does the web have to be different from the desktop? Why not
>> take working paradigms from the desktop and implement them into the
>> web?
>
>Because the web has constraints the desktop simply doesn't have. It's
>far better to build a system that works within its environment than
>one that is forcefully crow-barred into a format that isn't
>necessarily appropriate for it.
>
>Embracing the constraints of the web can force more creative solutions
>that move us forward. Gmail is a great example of this. To build a
>faster webmail client, Google conslidated conversations into a single
>thread. To eliminate the heavy functionality that goes along with
>foldering, they used a tag-based method that is light, and as an added
>bonus, it has benefits well beyond foldering. By building something
>specifically for the web environment (instead of copying desktop
>designs), they came up with something that works better on the web
>than most mail clients do on the desktop.
>
>> In a few years we won't talk about "desktop" and "web" anymore,
>> it will all be the same animal.
>
>And I hope you're right, but that's not the case at the moment, and I
>think that if we're going to get there, we need to be able to deal
>with the constraints we have with both platforms right now in order to
>unite them.
>
>-r-
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
>List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help

--

----------------
Katie Albers
katie at firstthought.com

10 Oct 2007 - 4:05pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> I want my mail on
> MY machine.

> I still want to
> control it from my machine and my server. In any case, the idea that
> MY email is on Some Other Machine, immediately makes it a poorer user
> experience.

Every email you send or receive hits some other server whether you
like it or not, so I'm not sure your argument is valid. Your mail
server has to be up and running for you to get your email in *every*
case, regardless of which client you're using, and unless you own your
own mail server, you're trusting your mail to go through another
source as we speak.

-r-

10 Oct 2007 - 5:28pm
Chris Pallé
2007

Keeping items in multiple places is fine for a computer, but not so
good for humans. It adds clutter.

Having my music, calendar, address book, etc. _synced_ is great, but
that is impossible in the physical. I could never manage that. I need
to be able to find stuff. Repositories (insert whatever metaphor you
wish) are neccessary to stay organized. Tagging and labeling is still
another real world metaphor.
We define the machine, not the other way around (though dome may argue
that).

Chris Palle, {human} experience
blue flame interactive
732-513-3570
http://blueflameinteractive.com
Sent from iPhone

On Oct 10, 2007, at 5:34 PM, "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <robert at rhjr.net>
wrote:

>> I don't understand why the folder
>> model is supposed to be broken. It's not exactly a reflection of the
>> underlying system. It's a metaphor taken from real life.
>
> The metaphor is what originally dictated how the system was built, but
> the result is a weak system regardless.
>
> We're not dealing with physical objects here - we don't have to put
> things in drawers and boxes. Computers are capable of doing this great
> thing that we can't do with physical objects - keep them in multiple
> places - so why stick to the old metaphor when a new one can be so
> clearly superior?
>
>> Interestingly, in real life we don't usually label the things we want
>> to archive, we put things into boxes, drawers, folders and label
>> these
>> containers. Just because foldering is an old metaphor it doesn't mean
>> it's bad. In fact, it might be a great metaphor since it's been
>> successful for a long time.
>
> I'm not saying it's a bad metaphor. I'm saying it results in a system
> that doesn't live up to its potential. Tagging (or "labeling") is the
> next logical step and we should pursue it further instead of clinging
> to the old model just because it's worked in the past.
>
>> Also, why does the web have to be different from the desktop? Why not
>> take working paradigms from the desktop and implement them into the
>> web?
>
> Because the web has constraints the desktop simply doesn't have. It's
> far better to build a system that works within its environment than
> one that is forcefully crow-barred into a format that isn't
> necessarily appropriate for it.
>
> Embracing the constraints of the web can force more creative solutions
> that move us forward. Gmail is a great example of this. To build a
> faster webmail client, Google conslidated conversations into a single
> thread. To eliminate the heavy functionality that goes along with
> foldering, they used a tag-based method that is light, and as an added
> bonus, it has benefits well beyond foldering. By building something
> specifically for the web environment (instead of copying desktop
> designs), they came up with something that works better on the web
> than most mail clients do on the desktop.
>
>> In a few years we won't talk about "desktop" and "web" anymore,
>> it will all be the same animal.
>
> And I hope you're right, but that's not the case at the moment, and I
> think that if we're going to get there, we need to be able to deal
> with the constraints we have with both platforms right now in order to
> unite them.
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help

10 Oct 2007 - 4:13pm
Meve
2007

I simply love my iGoogle... It allows me to have a lot of thinks in
the same place : my RSS feeds, some applications (facebook, gmail,
linkedin).
I use google mainly to receive information (about work/passion).
What is important for me is that I can organize it the way I want.

I also used the Google Desktop with my google talk incorporate in it
(also a way to have have a lot of thinks on the same place).

There is a lot of medium of communications, the difficulty for me is
not to lose myself and to waist time going from a place to another to
get the info

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21336

10 Oct 2007 - 3:26pm
Kam Stewart
2007

For PC messaging I really like Adium, primarily simply due to it managing
multiple accounts at the same time (btw, you won't see combined accounts in
mobile clients because the phone OEMs have to go close deals with each IM
infrastructure provider and they won't allow it).

I like the iPhone's messaging too, but it's heavily derived from Palm's Treo
messaging apps which introduced threaded text messages to feel like IM.
Palm's Windows Mobile app was so superior that it was hacked to run on other
WinMo phones. (full disclosure - I used to work for Palm)

A question I'd like someone else to expand on who's tried both is, which is
better: Palm's using multiple folders for incoming and sent texts, like
email, or the iPhone's keeping one list of all in and outgoing messages?

On the web mail front, I really like Yahoo mail's ajax drag & drop and
keyboard short cuts. The tabbed mail windows work really well. I Hate, Hate
the fact that gmail allows only one window. If I have to grab a snippet from
an archived email for another it's a real pane. I resort to tricks like
inserting garbage text temporally to pull both up in a search window. That
said, I like gmail's threading on emails (but I wish there was an indicator
on each email as to it being "4 of 23") The indicator in the bottom right
corner of the next email's sender is nice but not enough.

It took a while, but I'm enjoying gmail's filtering more now. I'm still not
a 100% sold on it. The biggest fault is how do you look at all archived mail
that doesn't have a tag (without seeing the hundreds of tagged mail too?)

/Kam

11 Oct 2007 - 2:18am
Claude Knaus
2007

Hi Bianka,

What speaks against using a label as a folder? Do you miss the ability
of creating hierarchies?

-- Claude

On 10/10/07, Bianka McGovern <biankamcgovern at gmail.com> wrote:
> The advantages of labeling are clear, but one paradigm doesn't have to
> exclude the other. Labeling and foldering can happily co-exist and I
> think that's what missing for me when using Gmail. I understand
> "folder" as a container filled with information. I'm not longing for
> yellow folder icons but I'm sure one could come up with an intelligent
> solution which could satisfy my archiving obsession and the need to
> categorize things.
>
>
> On 10/10/07, Matthew Nish-Lapidus <mattnl at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I'd argue that folders are broken on the desktop too.. which is why
> > your see Mac OSX moving towards saved smart folders (searches) based
> > on metadata.. and of course MS followed suit in Vista.
> >
> > Labels/tags can be used in the same way as folders, but it allows data
> > to exists in more than one category. That way I don't have to
> > remember where I put everything, I can look where I think it should
> > be.
> >
> > When you put a piece of data in a category in a one to one
> > relationship you have to search/hunt around to find that data again
> > after.. especially if it could easily fit under more than one category
> > header.
> >
> > I'd rather have data where I want to look for it then have to remember
> > it's structure every time.
> >
> > For instance, when I bookmark a site in my browser i have to choose a
> > folder.. if the site is about design, the web, and usability, which
> > folder does it go in? If I tag it with all three then I will find it
> > when I'm looking for content based on any of those words, based on the
> > context when I need it again.
> >
> >
> >
> > On 10/10/07, Bianka McGovern <biankamcgovern at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > Although I like gmail a lot, I do miss the folders. I like archiving,
> > > getting rid of emails in the inbox. I don't understand why the folder
> > > model is supposed to be broken. It's not exactly a reflection of the
> > > underlying system. It's a metaphor taken from real life.
> > > Interestingly, in real life we don't usually label the things we want
> > > to archive, we put things into boxes, drawers, folders and label these
> > > containers. Just because foldering is an old metaphor it doesn't mean
> > > it's bad. In fact, it might be a great metaphor since it's been
> > > successful for a long time. I survive by labeling everything and then
> > > archiving it. I also set filters, but they don't always work,
> > > interestingly. Labeling is a good way of categorizing emails but it
> > > shouldn't replace foldering necessarily.
> > >
> > > Also, why does the web have to be different from the desktop? Why not
> > > take working paradigms from the desktop and implement them into the
> > > web? In a few years we won't talk about "desktop" and "web" anymore,
> > > it will all be the same animal.
> > >
> > > B.
> >
> > --
> > Matt Nish-Lapidus
> > email/gtalk: mattnl at gmail.com
> > ++
> > LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattnl
> > Home: http://www.nishlapidus.com
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
>

11 Oct 2007 - 7:55am
biankamcgovern@...
2007

In Gmail I label every incoming email and then I hit the archive
button to make it disappear out of my inbox. This seems more
cumbersome than having folders or folder-like containers. An option to
change the inbox view to one with all labeled emails hidden could be a
solution. Not being able to create hierarchies is a small disadvantage
as well. Apart from these issues Gmail is a very smart webmail app and
I use it frequently. I especially like the implemented chat function.

On 10/11/07, Claude Knaus <clyde7 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Bianka,
>
> What speaks against using a label as a folder? Do you miss the ability
> of creating hierarchies?
>
> -- Claude
>
> On 10/10/07, Bianka McGovern <biankamcgovern at gmail.com> wrote:
> > The advantages of labeling are clear, but one paradigm doesn't have to
> > exclude the other. Labeling and foldering can happily co-exist and I
> > think that's what missing for me when using Gmail. I understand
> > "folder" as a container filled with information. I'm not longing for
> > yellow folder icons but I'm sure one could come up with an intelligent
> > solution which could satisfy my archiving obsession and the need to
> > categorize things.
> >
> >
> > On 10/10/07, Matthew Nish-Lapidus <mattnl at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > I'd argue that folders are broken on the desktop too.. which is why
> > > your see Mac OSX moving towards saved smart folders (searches) based
> > > on metadata.. and of course MS followed suit in Vista.
> > >
> > > Labels/tags can be used in the same way as folders, but it allows data
> > > to exists in more than one category. That way I don't have to
> > > remember where I put everything, I can look where I think it should
> > > be.
> > >
> > > When you put a piece of data in a category in a one to one
> > > relationship you have to search/hunt around to find that data again
> > > after.. especially if it could easily fit under more than one category
> > > header.
> > >
> > > I'd rather have data where I want to look for it then have to remember
> > > it's structure every time.
> > >
> > > For instance, when I bookmark a site in my browser i have to choose a
> > > folder.. if the site is about design, the web, and usability, which
> > > folder does it go in? If I tag it with all three then I will find it
> > > when I'm looking for content based on any of those words, based on the
> > > context when I need it again.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On 10/10/07, Bianka McGovern <biankamcgovern at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > > Although I like gmail a lot, I do miss the folders. I like archiving,
> > > > getting rid of emails in the inbox. I don't understand why the folder
> > > > model is supposed to be broken. It's not exactly a reflection of the
> > > > underlying system. It's a metaphor taken from real life.
> > > > Interestingly, in real life we don't usually label the things we want
> > > > to archive, we put things into boxes, drawers, folders and label these
> > > > containers. Just because foldering is an old metaphor it doesn't mean
> > > > it's bad. In fact, it might be a great metaphor since it's been
> > > > successful for a long time. I survive by labeling everything and then
> > > > archiving it. I also set filters, but they don't always work,
> > > > interestingly. Labeling is a good way of categorizing emails but it
> > > > shouldn't replace foldering necessarily.
> > > >
> > > > Also, why does the web have to be different from the desktop? Why not
> > > > take working paradigms from the desktop and implement them into the
> > > > web? In a few years we won't talk about "desktop" and "web" anymore,
> > > > it will all be the same animal.
> > > >
> > > > B.
> > >
> > > --
> > > Matt Nish-Lapidus
> > > email/gtalk: mattnl at gmail.com
> > > ++
> > > LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattnl
> > > Home: http://www.nishlapidus.com
> > >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
> >
>

11 Oct 2007 - 9:40am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> In Gmail I label every incoming email and then I hit the archive
> button to make it disappear out of my inbox. This seems more
> cumbersome than having folders or folder-like containers.

How exactly do messages get into folders in your other email client?
Magic? ;) You have to do something to make that happen. The same is
true in Gmail. I'll say it again:

Use filters.

> An option to
> change the inbox view to one with all labeled emails hidden could be a
> solution.

If messages were labeled and archived as they came in (as they very
easily can be), you don't need this option. You're suggesting a
feature that creates a band-aid to a problem that has already been
solved.

1. Click "Create a filter"
2. Enter your criteria (e.g. "From: discuss at ixda.org") and click Next
3. Choose "Skip the Inbox" and "Label as: <yourLabel>"
4. Click "Create filter" (or "OK" or whatever it says)

Now, whenever a mesage comes in that meets the criteria, it skips the
inbox and appears as unread under the label you specified. It's
*exactly* like filtering incoming email into folders. There's
absolutely no difference.

I can't help you with the hierarchy issue (and I disagree that
hierarchies are a better way to organize things), but this should help
you with filtering.

-r-

11 Oct 2007 - 12:25pm
biankamcgovern@...
2007

On 10/11/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
> > In Gmail I label every incoming email and then I hit the archive
> > button to make it disappear out of my inbox. This seems more
> > cumbersome than having folders or folder-like containers.
>
> How exactly do messages get into folders in your other email client?
> Magic? ;) You have to do something to make that happen. The same is
> true in Gmail. I'll say it again:
>

I could select my email and choose "Add to folder "MyFolder". In Gmail
I have to label it first and then hit "Archive". Setting up filters?
Even more complicated...

> Use filters.
>
> > An option to
> > change the inbox view to one with all labeled emails hidden could be a
> > solution.
>
> If messages were labeled and archived as they came in (as they very
> easily can be), you don't need this option. You're suggesting a
> feature that creates a band-aid to a problem that has already been
> solved.
>
> 1. Click "Create a filter"
> 2. Enter your criteria (e.g. "From: discuss at ixda.org") and click Next
> 3. Choose "Skip the Inbox" and "Label as: <yourLabel>"
> 4. Click "Create filter" (or "OK" or whatever it says)
>
> Now, whenever a mesage comes in that meets the criteria, it skips the
> inbox and appears as unread under the label you specified. It's
> *exactly* like filtering incoming email into folders. There's
> absolutely no difference.
>
> I can't help you with the hierarchy issue (and I disagree that
> hierarchies are a better way to organize things), but this should help
> you with filtering.

I know the filter tool. Setting up filters means extra work, a lot of
users don't bother I bet. You had to write a whole paragraph to
explain how they work. I don't want my emails to skip the inbox before
I haven't read them. Setting up filters mean you know what kind of
emails you will receive. In a lot cases I just don't know. These are
valid issues.
>

> -r-
>

11 Oct 2007 - 5:47pm
Anonymous

My preference is to use Gmail because it let's me use POP to access
it from my home computer through Thunderbird or with my BlackBerry.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21336

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