22 June 2011

New message views in Yahoo! Mail

After the initial testing and launch of the newest version of Yahoo! mail a couple of weeks ago, some of the promised new functionality is starting to appear. The example I spotted: the integration of different views for the messages, controlled from a new button on the main toolbar:Yahoo Mail switch view button

  • Page by Page’: the classic layout – the list of emails is paginated and you can choose the number of messages per page from the ‘Options’ menu.
  • ‘In Scrolling List’ (with Preview): the odd name basically means a single page with infinite scrolling and a preview pane in the bottom half, replicating the experience you get in a desktop client. And if I remember correctly, it’s also equivalent to the default view from the second version of Y!-mail, so this update effectively merges the two previous versions into one interface. Unlike Hotmail, you cannot expand the message to fill the entire reading area, Yahoo! sticks with opening it in a tab instead. Another benefit of this view is the ‘Reply bar’, a small area at the bottom, where you can reply inline to the message, somewhat reminiscent of Gmail’s text box under conversations. Unfortunately the huge header, list of emails and message preview leave little room for the reply field, so it’s probably best suited for short, IM-like replies.
  • ‘In Scrolling List’ (no Preview): like the previous option, but without the preview pane. You can quickly toggle the pane on and off with the keyboard shortcut ‘v’.

I’m guessing the move is based on the feedback of numerous users, not happy with the new version. The only annoyance with the new menu is that switching between the first and second view will always trigger a warning message. I’m sure we could have a check-box somewhere saying “I understand the risks, just make the switch already!

In order to switch view, Yahoo! Mail must refresh. Any mail messages you're currently writing will be saved as drafts.

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