Help decide the UI for the Correspondents columns

Ben Bucksch ben.bucksch at beonex.com
Fri May 13 20:42:34 UTC 2016


Re icons:

We're like postmen: Mail is all the same to us, just the direction is 
different. While we developers think of "outgoing" and "incoming" email, 
left/right up/down make sense to us.

As an end user who *loves* the Correspondents column (so much that I 
founded its development), I keep getting confused about the icons. Which 
was left arrow? Incoming or outgoing? It's not obvious to me, even as a 
developer.

I think the way users think about is "things I received" and "things I 
wrote". Note: "wrote", not "outgoing". And if you look at the main 
toolbar, the label for a new outgoing email is "Write" and the icon is a 
pencil. The icon for "Get Messages" is an inbox.

As a user, I would have chosen the same iconography for the 
Correspondents column.
Inbox icon for incoming emails, pencil (without paper, due to size) for 
outgoing emails.

That would be clearly distinct and could enter the "muscle memory" of 
immediately recognizing which emails are from me.

In addition, I would also use colors to distinguish incoming/outgoing. 
Something bright that stands out - like yellow or red - for outgoing, 
and something less eye-catching for incoming, e.g. green or blue.

With completely different icons, and contrasting colors, I think the 
Correspondents column will be a lot more useful and more universally liked.

So, concrete icon proposal:
* Outgoing: Red Pencil, no paper.
* Incoming: Blue inbox icon
Optional:
* Incoming new / never seen: Green inbox icon



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