[Design] Microsoft's Grand Central e-mail interface
jprusky at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 22 02:10:45 PST 2003
Very interesting ideas.
It can also be found at
http://www.hanselman.com/blog/default.aspx?date=2003-12-21 in the 03-1220
entry. The blog entry is called
of future versions of Outlook? -- An interesting story out of Microsoft
Research. From an internal alias, but OK'ed for public consumption:"
"Current e-mail tools are like looking at a conversation with a magnifying
glass. It's easy to see the details but difficult to get an overall
picture. In Venolia's interface you view conversations as a whole instead
of as individual messages. The initial message is shown at the top, and the
most recent reply at the bottom, followed by the text box to input your
response, similar to a chat format ....
-- snip --
It doesn't stop here. Venolia has also designed the user interface to give
you some metrics about your conversations - you can find out at-a-glance
just who you communicate with the most, and whether you are the originator,
recipient or a participant. You can also see a complete list of the
attachments, URLS, and images that are found in all your messages, in case
you don't want to hunt through past e-mails to find that one document or
Web site reference that you want.
Grand Central is designed to help people keep track of conversations as
they're happening, easily integrate different digital communication
methods, turn a conversation into a follow-up task, and find and reference
past conversations and the digital information that comes with them.
-- snip --
I have been very interested in task management and notice the relationship
between tasks and email generation. While I have had great admiration from
the ideas in David Allen's "Getting Things Done" book, I don't think it
effectively addresses the information explosion, particularly as it is
directed at the knowledge worker. I make extensive use of filters in
Eudora, in combination with "more than" dozens of mailboxes. The recent
discussion on this list about filters and views doesn't really address this
issue, but that is a subject for a different post. Suffice it to say that
each mailbox, in some sense, represents a "project." Each project has
messages with a different status, in some ways representing a todo list.
Anyway, I like the "forest for the trees" mindset that I infer from this
work at Microsoft Research. While I recall conversations at OSAF about
keeping track of URL, bookmarks, etc., I don't recall bigger picture
orientation for the Chandler email client.
At 02:44 12/21/03, Ted Leung wrote:
>Here's a reference to some stuff being done at Microsoft on
>conversations in e-mail.
>I'm not advocating, just reporting the existence of this.
>Ted Leung Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF)
>PGP Fingerprint: 1003 7870 251F FA71 A59A CEE3 BEBA 2B87 F5FC 4B42
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