My first impressions of the windows 8 mail application …
The mail app seemed to work straight away with my @live account, and looks like it will offer good synchronisation with multiple accounts however I am unable to get the “accounts” charm to stay open when running in a VMWare VM, so haven’t tested multiple accounts. The @Live account seemed to cause synchronisation issues for Outlook on another machine which was only resolved by deleting the local ost file.
- Live tiles indicating how many unread emails.
- Has a clean look
- No apparent security: internet pictures are automatically downloaded, and you can’t set it to read html mails in text mode etc.
- Navigation when docked is difficult. It’s not intuitive to navigate from store, to list of items to an actual email item. Could really do with some breadcrumb or similar to show you where you are
- Can’t display two emails side by side (no “windows”).
- No rules. The ability to automatically move emails from different people isn’t there. This alone is probably the real deal breaker for me, and the number one reason why I won’t be using the mail app.
- Can’t change font or font size. Unbelievable in this day and age that the user can’t decide to change settings such as font size. I don’t believe any app that is truly interested in accessibility would leave this functionality out. Shameful
- When composing a new email the formatting toolbar is now at the bottom of the screen. This might make sense if you are using the onscreen keyboard, and hence is okay for tablet use, but for keyboard and mouse input it’s in the wrong place. This epitomizes my major issues with the Windows 8 design: they continually favour tablet touch input design at the cost of mouse and keyboard input design. The ergonomics of having the formatting toolbar at the bottom of the screen are terrible. The only time it should appear there is when you use the on screen keyboard.
Conclusion: I wouldn’t consider this a real email client. Security needs to be addressed before recommending to even the most casual of users. It needs rules. And the way it works in a desktop environment really needs to be re-thought.
Steven Sinofsky posted to the windows 8 team blog on their design for the mail app. Sadly I don’t see these issues addressed there .