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Web Mail 6.0 Sneak Peek (updated) - 12/08/06

From: Email Guy
Subject:       Web Mail 6.0 Sneak Peek (updated)
Date: December 8, 2006 10:38 AM
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I've updated this post and moved it back to the top of the list to get some user feedback now that our blog is fully live. I had originally posted this before we got the blog linked to Web Mail for all users to find it.

We're working on a new and improved layout and style for Web Mail to release in Q3 2007. Web Mail 6.0 will fix a number of usability problems, make the layout more logical, and have an updated, cleaner look-and-feel. Here's a mockup that is still being refined.

[ Click to view larger image ]


Over time the left navigation panel has become cluttered with additions and become somewhat disorganized. The new layout takes the task links out of the left panel and puts them in a convenient toolbar over the main content area. The left panel will then only contain folder links and not primary tasks, which are all being moved to the toolbar. Some of the other changes are:

  • Moved the signout link to the top.
  • Made the Inbox the topmost folder, as it should be.
  • Grouped the protection features and spam folders together at the bottom.
  • Improved the "Move to" control to be a one-step action.
  • Made the preview toggle much more obvious and intuitive.
  • Eliminated the visual clutter of all links being underlined as almost everything is a link.
  • Allow hiding the folder panel to get a larger Inbox view.
  • Updated the syling to be more visually appealing.

The improved layout and particularly the toolbar will pave the way for some performance changes we plan to make using AJAX to dynamically refresh the content area when task buttons are clicked. That will eliminate some of the full page refreshes that occur today when you change tasks or views. We already do this today with the Compose view. Click on "Write Message" in Web Mail today and you'll notice that the view changes instantly without fetching anything from the server and without refreshing the page. This idea will be expanded to other tasks.

Something we won't be doing to Web Mail, is going in the direction we see a lot of other Web Mail providers taking, where they are making pages very graphics-intensive in an attempt to make Web Mail look more like a stand-alone email software application (client application) running on your own computer. We believe a web application must first and foremost be light-weight and responsive, and that it shouldn't try to imitate a heavy client application. The concept shown here will have about the same weight as the existing Web Mail, hopefully even less.

As always, feedback is welcomed.


    « Previous   |   Showing Comments 51-75 of 78   |   Next »   |   End »

Posted by: Mark   |   March 26, 2007 7:46 PM    |   (51)

I would like to see a powerful, thin, email solution like Outlook Web Access. This would import a .pst file and allow users access to their full email anytime, anywhere. As a domain customer, this may be available at some point. With companies like Google offering products like Google Apps, it is just a matter of time before the cloud concept becomes a reality. As a loyal Earthlink customer (8 years now), I would like to see Earthlink lead the way!


Posted by: Brandon   |   March 26, 2007 9:39 PM    |   (52)

Your December post regarding WebMail 6.0 indicated a possible release by Q1 of this year. Since the quarter is almost over, could you give us an update on the project and when we might expect to see the new release?

Also, when can we expect to see message filters added to WebMail.

Thank you so much for this blog. This is a great resource for information. Keep it up!

Like most software estimates, that one was optimistic. We're looking at early summer now. However, there will be some improvements in between. Look for an update on the 6.0 design soon.

Email Guy

Posted by: Ron Klein   |   March 27, 2007 5:20 PM    |   (53)

I can hardly wait for the 1 GB space.... when might it be available?

I've been a customer for 11 years, including the time with some firms Earthlink acquired and am using webmail more all the time.... the added space would be wonderful.

We plan to migrate accounts to 1GB during the second half of this year.

Email Guy

Posted by: Donna H.   |   April 2, 2007 1:36 PM    |   (54)

In the Suspect E-mail section, please move a submit spam button to the top of the page. I don't like scrolling down to find the submit button after I choose "this is spam".

Glad you're moving the sign out button to the top of the page!!!

Posted by: Bradley Warner Tompkins   |   May 5, 2007 4:00 PM    |   (55)

Considering some recent really bad decisions your team made (the most recent "News" debacle comes to mind in particular), I hope you are going to let us try out the beta of v6 long before we are forced to use it.

Posted by: Nancy Johns   |   June 1, 2007 4:11 PM    |   (56)

Please STOP the flickering and gyrating ads!! They bother my eyes and (since they are now vertical right instead of the better horizontal top) I have to hold my right hand over them and block them from my vision to be able to comfortably read and answer my email! I can't wait for an ad-less Web Mail site!

Posted by: James   |   June 1, 2007 11:34 PM    |   (57)

Is there a limit on the number of top level folders now?

It must be increased soon !!!

Regards ... James

There is a limit on the total number of folders in Web Mail, whether or not they are top level. That limit has always been 40. Once you have that many, the option to add more is hidden. With web-based email, the more folders you have the slower things will go, as they are all stored on the server and have to be retrieved to your browser every time you check email.

Email Guy

Posted by: Ken   |   June 2, 2007 2:59 AM    |   (58)

I find the advertisment on the right hand side very distracting. I wish you'd put it back at the top. Thanks.

Posted by: TC   |   June 4, 2007 11:24 AM    |   (59)

Have you experimented with a tab like interface any. Seems to me that a lot of improvement in the interface could be accomplished with a tab approach. For instance a tab for the Inbox or current folder the person is viewing. Then open a tab when someone opens an email for reading, allow them to have more than one email open at a time using additional tabs. Users can then close all tabs maybe except for the main Inbox folder tab.

Really, if you get a chance try the new Yahoo web mail application. They have really cleaned that up, including adding a Home tab that is somewhat like the my.earthlink page with news and other categories of stuff.

Posted by: Mary Anne Cosper   |   June 4, 2007 3:09 PM    |   (60)

I am quite upset with having to wade through another set of ads, and news postings to get to my e-mail. If I want to preview the news, I would do it deliberately. When I click on e-mail, I am intending to read my e-mail. The same goes about my e-mail page. Putting ads on the side just scrunches my e-mail together, and is very distracting. If ads are needed for me to access my e-mail, then put them on the top. They are distracting when I am trying to do what is important to me. Does anybody agree with me?

Posted by: susan   |   June 6, 2007 11:13 PM    |   (61)

I absolutely HATE the new flashing, brightly colored vertical advertisement bar. It is so very annoying and I find myself unable to focus on my email message. It is so very annoying, that if not revised soon, I am considering dropping my Earthlink service. I have been a very satisfied customer for four years, so this is not a light statement! Please....until the new ad-less version of Web mail is available, please please please reposition the advertisement bar to the top like it used to be. Earthlink decision-makers need to listen to your customers on this. Don't make us wait in irritated frustration! Do it NOW!!!

Posted by: Sue   |   June 8, 2007 2:49 AM    |   (62)

If we are suppose to be getting our email messages, why do we have to take up the page with the advertisement on the right column?

Posted by: Michael Day   |   June 9, 2007 3:27 AM    |   (63)

Please get rid of or move the ad on the right side of the page. Not only is it annoying but at present it cuts off the right margin of the mail viewing window. And if you do plan to leave it there then at least give us some way to scroll over to view what goes beyond the viewing window.

Posted by: Pam A.   |   June 16, 2007 4:15 AM    |   (64)

I just saw the format you are considering and I like it much better than the ones I've seen previously. I do not like a split screen with some emails at the top and the email being read underneath. I want to see the whole page so I can pick and choose from them which one I want to click on and read.

The selection to display the preview pane or not isn't going away. See the upper right of your screen where it says, "Hide Message Preview". The default setting for that is saved in your Preferences under Web Mail Options.

Email Guy

Posted by: Carolyn   |   June 20, 2007 3:14 PM    |   (65)

I turned off my spam blocker. It still will not allow Hotmail from my grandchildren to come through. What is the problem and what can I do about it? carolyn

Check your blocked sender list and make sure you haven't inadvertently blocked the address there. Click Preferences / Blocked Sender List. I did check your account logs and I see a message from a hotmail address being delivered to you successfully at Jun 22 15:48:07 EDT, so I know you don't have the entire domain blocked.

If you aren't blocking the address, and the email isn't being delivered, then the sender should be getting a failure message in their mailbox that gives the reason for the failure.

Email Guy

Posted by: April   |   June 23, 2007 10:55 AM    |   (66)

Please enlarge the actual mail screen. I should be able to read my mail in full detail moreso than being able to view ads. I have to open printable view with no option of keeping that window open and being able to hit "next" or "previous" to navigate through my mail. I don't want to see the ads, I want to read my mail.

Posted by: Marion Kling   |   July 6, 2007 11:39 AM    |   (67)

I am not a computer guru at the age of 77, so forgive me if this is a stupid question. How do I forward web mail attachments?
I usually must go to Outlook Express to do this. Sorry, but I am baffled. At least I know how to get to OEXP!!
Marion Kling

Normally when you forward any message in Web Mail, all original attachments are included. There was a problem prior to Web Mail 5.16.3 (released 7/6) where this didn't always work in the case of messages that had already been forwarded to you. But that is now fixed. So just click the Forward button, and any attachments that were sent to you will be included in the forwarded message.

Email Guy

Posted by: Frank Moore   |   July 24, 2007 10:35 AM    |   (68)

I would like it to be simpler to report and delete spam messages. As it is now, you have to make about 6 clicks to report a message as spam and delete it. It would be great it you could report and delete the spam with only a couple of clicks. Once the dialog box comes up and asks if you want to report it as spam, it should be automatically deleted when you say yes, and not moved to the trash where you have to delete it again.

I like the new settings that allow me to sign out the the webmail sign in page and to go straight to the in box. Thanks for making those changes.

I like the look of the new version, and the signout link at the top.

Posted by: Kathy Wethington   |   August 10, 2007 9:35 PM    |   (69)

DITTO - DITTO - DITTO - DITTO -- on the absolutely, completely IRRITATING right pane ads. I have emailed EarthLink on this very issue numerous times and am so pleased to find my sentiments echoed so often here. Since we are all paying for our EarthLink service and WebMail is part of that service I fail to understand the incessant need for ads but if it is absolutely necessary to have them and if they can't be at the bottom where they belong, then they need to be at the top where they do not interfere with the viewing of our mail which is what we pay EarthLink for and the only reason we are on that page to begin with. Otherwise, having been a loyal EarthLink customer since the beginning, as long as EarthLink continues to keep it simple, fast (could be faster) and leads the way instead of following another leader, I believe we still have the best ISP available! The newer look and buttons should improve the navigating and hopefully the navigating time - but those ads have really got to move!!!

Posted by: K Cotton   |   August 11, 2007 8:32 AM    |   (70)

Is there any, I mean any, way to sort unread messages to the top...or to search for unread message as Outlook will? I don't always have time to read all my messages and the unread items get buried as new mail arrives.

No, the message list can't be sorted by unread status.

Email Guy

Posted by: Christine   |   August 13, 2007 7:10 AM    |   (71)

One feature I really would like to see -- in Total Access as well as Web mail -- is an editable subject line, not just when forwarding a message but in a message I've already received and need to archive.

This is an Outlook feature I used in in the job I just quit, and now I am working at home. I do so much of my research by e-mail that I need a way to make the subject lines consistent and relevant to the particular project it relates to. It also makes them easy to sort. I don't know of any program besides Outlook that offers this feature, though I haven't researched it to any great extent.

Also, I'd just like to express my appreciation for the decision to keep the Web mail interface lean and light instead of loading it down with graphics. Stamp out bloat!

Posted by: Russ Thomas   |   August 14, 2007 4:51 PM    |   (72)


Is there a way to download items from my sent folder on the mail server (i.e. sent via the web interface) to my local machine?



For one suggestion, see the last paragraph of this FAQ.

Email Guy

Posted by: steve lowery   |   August 19, 2007 5:05 PM    |   (73)

when willl the new version of webmail be out we have been hearing it coming for an while now.

It will be released in several phases over the next 2-3 months, with the first set of new features coming up in a few weeks. The full redesign won't be completely out until at least October. Watch the blog for more news.

Email Guy

Posted by: V   |   September 1, 2007 6:02 PM    |   (74)


I'm very happy about the new look of webmail.
Thanks for making it easier to use.

Posted by: steve lowery   |   September 25, 2007 10:23 PM    |   (75)

can you tell us an more release date in october when the new version of webmail will be release. also did you change the print out form better that looks more like outlook yahoo to look better. i hope you'll did. if you would please comtact me so i will know please.

It's coming sooner. We've worked on the Print feature and you will see improvements there next week. Look for an announcement on that release soon, with more information about other changes.

Email Guy

    « Previous   |   Showing Comments 51-75 of 78   |   Next »   |   End »

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