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Some Quirks Remain - Moving Towards an Elegant Email Interface
on November 24, 2011
Several issues down a few more to go... Yahoo finally responded - after much delay - to customers and fixed the initial issue that limited users to viewing only one screen, and only 10 messages, at a time. The app now scrolls as it should. No more requirement to view email messages in landscape mode. There was then a persistent problem wrt loading on a Kindle Fire HD (we'd get a perpetual loop of the app interface asking for a login name & password, which never connected us to the Yahoo Mail service). Then the navigation capabilities on a Kindle Fire HD 7" failed and were not consistently visible (forcing users to open emails to view navigation tools or ending up in a loop of no access to mail folders if one got stuck in a folder with no emails to open). And, just to keep things interesting, in the phone rendition of the app notifications were/can be a disaster and do not always work.
The most recently updated interface design of the Yahoo Mail app was an improvement over the old interface aesthetically (it got rid of that gosh awful prior arrangement in which the ads took up over 1/3 of the app's 'real-estate' on a relatively small smart phone or 7" tablet display). The new design is elegant and clean. The folders run down the left vertical 1/3 of the display (tablet and smart phone - mine a Samsung Galaxy S III) with a viewing panel of messages showing in the right 2/3 of the screen. Very nice! Easy to scan. The button controls are now intuitive and boast symbols that are laid out such that they are easy to use and maneuver through.
[UPDATE - April 2013] Yahoo seems to have released an update (2.5) that now fixes the dangerous lack of navigation facilities for moving backwards to an email folder once it has been opened to view emails in that folder without having to open an email to move back up the folder hierarchy - at least it now works again on a Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet. A very welcome & needed fix. So thx to the developers. There is still a quirk though - that relates to the new STAR categories functionality. YMail added the ability to star vital messages to be able to scan down a list of emails and spot them quickly. They also added a top-level folder that is supposed to sort and present those starred messages. A terrific functionality. But, I can only speak to the Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet, there is a problem with the Star function and that top-level Star Folder - it only includes 5 starred messages. There should be no limit to the number of starred emails that should appear there! I only put stars next to 7 messages as a test of the new feature. Yet, no matter what I do, only 5 messages appear in the Star Folder. Developers, that needs a fix. I have re-upped my rating from 1-star to 4-stars because of the new aesthetic design and the fixed navigation issues on the Kindle Fire HD tablet. If the Star folder situation gets fixed on my Fire HD and all the crazy performance issues wrt notifications, email even working, etc. on all major smart phones (like the Galaxy S3) I'll move this rating up to 5-stars.
I don't see that Star functionality on my Samsung Galaxy S III at all. But then I haven't run the latest two updates due to 1-star reviews on the Play Store stating that those updates totally messed up other folks' Samsung Galaxy S III Y-Mail implementations and now they can't get any mail on their phones...
Hope their new CEO keeps on the developers' cases to get with the program (so to speak...) and make Yahoo apps work fluidly, intuitively, highly functionally on a consistent basis and in a user-centric and non-alienating manner no matter what the platform.