Webmail Woes

As my fellow ISU graduates/attendees are aware, our Webmail system sucks. For the longest time I didn’t use it at all, but I finally gave in because I like the protection afforded by SSL when I am away from my Kerberos-enabled e-mail client.

I’ve found the Webmail system can be painfully slow at times, not just in speed but also in interface. For example:

Excerpt of folder deletion confirmation screen

You got all that? A screenful of generic words that tell you nothing. (What folder am I deleting, any idea?) It gets worse: for those who don’t use the “fast” mode, this message displays with frames (!) and clunky button graphics that are dutifully downloaded each time (instead of about 20 bytes of code to have the Web browser make one.)

If I were doing it, here’s how I’d remake that same message:

Webmail folder deletion screen mockup

It’s less than a third of the words, yet it provides more information. Also note the renaming of the “Continue” button. I think it is far more intuitive to label buttons with the actions they will trigger (the Mac OS model) than just a generic question answer.

Next up: an interface foible non-ISU people can actually see for themselves. (Aren’t you excited?)

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