Email has become a ubiquitous modern communication tool in present days. Though adopted by millions of people, email clients still lack a proper interface design for providing quality email management experiences. This study explored potential factors that influence the user experience in managing emails and proposes a solution for the current problems that have been observed in email filing.
The initial part of this study was the exploratory study in which three new designs to perform email filing in smartphones were proposed: drop-down design, side-scrolling design and pop-up design. In this study, the usability of three designs were compared in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction. For this, a within-subject experiment was carried through with one independent variable (design) containing three levels (side-scrolling design, pop-up design and drop-down design ). 18 participants performed assigned tasks in each of the designs and the observed results were used to determine the usability of each of the designs.
The exploratory study was followed by an experimental study in which the most usable design from the exploratory study was compared with the email filing feature of Microsoft Outlook. The independent variables were design (drop-down and Outlook) and number of folders (5, 10,15). A 2x2 within-subject experiment was conducted. Similar to the experimental study, the results obtained from 18 new participants who performed the assigned tasks on both the designs were used to determine the usability of the designs.
In both experiments, the task completion time, recorded errors and satisfaction towards the designs were the dependent variables. The participants' subject evaluations towards each design was collected using 7-point Likert scale surveys and post-test questionnaires. In the exploratory study, data analysis results showed that, the drop-down design had better performance in terms of usability. Similarly, the result analysis of the experimental study revealed that the drop-down design had better usability than Outlook’s design. The outcome of the analysis also showed that, scalability influenced this aspect. It was found that the usability of drop-down design was likely to go less than the Outlook’s design when the number of folders increases. Taken together, this entire study revealed that the new drop-down design showed the potential to be a feasible alternative for building email management solution. This study will open avenues for further exploration and development of interface solutions for email management.

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