Dissecting "Mail"


Concepts and features of the standard
Android mail client.

First look:


  • Differentiation of new/read emails through background color.
  • As a logo take the photo from the Contacts app or if n/a the first letter w/ random background color.
  • Messages can be starred.
  • A paper clip marks attachments.

Standard design elements:

  • Main Action Bar:
    • Side Drawer
    • Action: "Write new Mail"
    • Toggle Menu
  • List Menu (the Emails)

Side Drawer:


  • Lists all Email accounts.
  • Lists related folders.


Standard design elements:

  • Radio Buttons:
    Switch between Email accounts.
  • Menu items (metaphoric icons):
    Switch between folders relative to the selected Email account.

Side Drawer:

... having selected a specific Email account...

  • All related folders get listed.
  • Recently used folders are listed too.
  • Folders with subfolders are marked at the edge.



Side Drawer:

... wrap-up...


  • Flat hierarchy.
  • Metaphoric icons.
  • The "Combined view".
  • "Recently used" shortcut.
→ Accessible

List Menu:

Vertical scrollable list featuring a minimum of information.

  • Items markable by tapping the icons.
  • The Toggle Menu hides "Add star"




List Menu:

  • Lets you delete messages by  horizontal swiping.
    • And provides an undo-feature.




List Menu:

... wrap-up...

  • Vertical scrolling.
  • Swipe-to-delete.
  • Tap-to-select.
  • Uses Contact-Icons or first letter.

Accessible,
      delightful,
     designed.

Reading a Mail:

... having tapped a list menu item...

  • You can quickly switch between mails due to the Page Carousel design pattern.
  • A minimal feature set is displayed. Additional features hidden behind a Toggle Menu and a Drop-Down Arrow.




Reading a Mail:

... wrap-up...

  • Page Carousel.
  • Reduced/hidden feature set.


Accessible,
    delightful.

  Wrap-up:  

  • Androids "Mail" is a native app that comes preinstalled on most Android devices.
  • It sticks to expectations and provides a delightful swipe-to-delete shortcut and a page carousel for flipping though mails.
  • Due to the reduced feature set it is highly accessible.
  • It also innovative in its design, turning the first letter of the sender in a design feature.

  • The downside: "Mail" is mildly innovative overall and lacks state of the art features (e.g. "Threaded view", "Mark as spam", "GnuPG encryption").