When a technology falls out of fashion

… it stops getting attention of developers.

E-mail is one such technology.

She was the darling of early days of internet – and is still the workhorse (or “work-mare”) of the corporate world.

When web applications boomed, innovations in E-mail clients severely lagged those in the browsers.

Even the cross-pollination of ideas from browsers to e-mail clients have stopped.


Take for example the concept of history. [I think history is handled very crudely even in browsers. However, that is a different matter.] Why can’t a mail client also have  a history? With dozens of folders and Outlook-breaking number of rules, I forget when I filed a particular mail that I read a week before.

Unfortunately, e-mail clients are stuck in 1990’s where you can either have folders or history but not both.

Then the question arises, should history be maintained by the (disk-loaded) servers or the (thin, probably mobile) client? Both have tradeoffs. I’d leave it to designers to solve.


Closely related to the concept of the history is the “back” and “forward” buttons. There are “up” and “down” buttons in an e-mail client that bank on the current sorting order of mails but nothing in the client remembers the past of “mail-browsing history”.


Once we talk of back and forward,  we may also want to talk about multi-tabbed mail browsing and the “Oops!” button 🙂


Another such example is favorites. There are flags in e-mail clients but favorites are missing.

Why can’t the mail client learn my favorite folders and keep them handy for moving mails? In some clients, there is a favorite area where I can move my favorite folder but the interface to it is so unintuitive!

Also, why can’t the client itself run the statistics and decide which folders are the most favorite?


And did you feel the need of that “stop” button of the browser in a mail client? I have!


And what happened to those “downloads”?


The only one button I don’t think we need is “refresh”.


Can someone make these ideas a reality?


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