Monday, August 23, 2004

Dan Brown on G-mail

Have you ever thought about the information architecture of emai? Most of our email services provide one method of organization: folders. Dan Brown, an information architect, is hardly good at organizing his traditional email (which is odd because he's an information architect). He points out some the organizational advantages to google's new email service, G-mail, in his article The Information Architecture of Email.

Instead of asking the user to assign emails to a particular folder, gmail introduces a new method of email organization: threads. "By keeping all the messages together in a single thread, it’s easier to follow a conversation. More importantly, it doesn’t bog down the inbox with lots of messages with the same subject line." The threaded messages can be taken out of the inbox if you choose to archive it... ofcourse G-mail offers so much storage space (1 GB to be exact) that the archive acts as a trash can in some ways. Even if you are still not confident in locating your email thread, google has lent it's super fast search engine to their email service... allowing you to searck your own archive. Of course, all of this storage space does go against the concept of letting the bits go. But, if you're going to hold on to the bits- this isn't a bad way to go.

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