To the normal user, email has remained relatively stable in its function and design for, well, all of email history. Despite the transaction of more digital mail than ever, email interfaces haven’t evolved in the ways that other technology and applications have in the digital revolution.
In recent years, alternative messaging applications like Snapchat and Slack have given email users an often simpler, more efficient way to talk with others. But email continues to be one of the most dominant channels for communicating quickly with peers and colleagues.
A recent Mashable article explained how email has remained relatively unchanged, despite the occasional calls for re-invention throughout its tenure. Sure, there have been some updates to platforms and software (the article cites Microsoft’s Clutter tool and Google’s automatic grouping and sorting of messages.) But at the end of the day, not much has changed about emails and how we access them.
There are two primary reasons behind the lack of change to email interface. First, email panes were designed for users to be able to do a quick scan of their inbox, and any changes to this design could drastically alter the user experience. If anything has changed over the years, it’s how users read their inbox of emails. As we become more inundated with messages, we’re more selective about what we open, making it the sender’s responsibility to make the email enticing enough to read!
Second, unlike many other messaging apps and channels, email is a digital tool that is used by people of all ages. Because so many jobs require its employees to use email, it’s a familiar tool to a majority of demographics across the country. While some email providers have added bells and whistles to distinguish their platform against competitors, standard functionality, security, and organizational tools are worth their weight in gold to the everyday user.
So why has email remained relatively unchanged? Does it need a facelift?
Bottom line, the answer is no. It really seems there is no need to fix email– and disrupt millions of users – because it really isn’t broken in the first place.