Redesigning professional email clients: »Scope«
»Scope« is an email client designed for advanced business use, not only processing conventional event and task management but offering additional features considered based on the results of a precedent expert survey: e.g. the inbox marginal column, to organise emails for better synopsis or individual structuring, the scope button, to support filtering of linked content by one single click. In addition to the conventional list view Scope also allows for individual preview and file searching of content.
Emails are an essential tool for business communication and management. But in the last ten years there were only a few interface innovations developed, so we investigated users’ email behaviour in business context and it became clear that incoming email floods and communication/ attachment chains are a big distraction and issue.
We interviewed experts to get an idea of how they process their daily email congestion: how/why are emails either kept or deleted, how are attachments handled, how do users manage tasks or appointments from incoming emails. Based on the experts’ needs we created possible user scenarios and sketched them as wireframes. We then proceeded to transfer the those into a fully fleshed visual design showing all elements in their possible states (active, passive, hover, …). Despite having complex functionality the application had to be straight-forward and easy to grasp. That’s why we agreed on a dark interface approach to help focusing on active content.
The marginal column
The inbox is divided into two sections which split relevant emails from secondary content defined as »marginal« by the user. Emails can be dragged and dropped easily, either temporarily or permanently.
Event and task management
Appointments from email text will automatically be labelled as such, assigning them to the correspondent color and icon. Dragging and dropping them into the event container will mark them as approved and accepted. Tasks can be derived directly from text sections, if marked as such and drawn into the task container. The text sections are fully editable in a separate pop-up.
In addition to conventional list view, Scope allows for individual preview and file searching of mail content and attachments. This defines Scope not only as a genuine email program but a comprehensive archive for your mails and any other linked data.
Survey & Expert Interviews
In the beginning we run a survey and collected several high-level insights. Later we interviewed some experts to get a better understanding on how they process their daily email congestion: why are emails either kept or deleted, how are attachments handled and how do users manage their tasks or appointments from incoming mails …
We analysed the market with focus on existing UX paradigms.
Scenario Definition & Wireframes
Based on the experts' needs we created possible user scenarios and sketched them as wireframes. We defined all essential content and features and determined their positioning for an optimal user experience.
Interaction and Visual Design
We proceeded to develop the wireframes into a fully fleshed visual design, showing the elements in all their possible states. Despite having complex functionality, the application had to be straight-forward and easy to grasp. We agreed on a dark interface to help us focusing on active content.
We had Scope reviewed by some of our survey experts to see if the application would satisfy the requirements of its target group. The features as well as the look met with a positive response. And there were also a few other hints that we gave a quick attempt.