Why webmail applications are not for mobile phones ?


In the last days I was using so much internet on my mobile phone (Nokia 6630), surfing websites, downloading sometimes, but most of the time to consult my emails and answer to some important email that I receive. The problem is that I didn’t find a suitable mobile webmail application to use. Even Yahoo and MSN offer mobile version of their webmail but not that good, always problem to access my email account specially that I have thousands of unread email in yahoo, but MSN I don’t use it so much.

What I have noticed is that mobile webmails are not optimized for a better user experience. Looks like the feature have been tested, check email working ok, send email, read it and that’s all. Nobody thinked that an email account could be flooded with emails ? If I have already new emails in my account and check emails from an external IMAP account for example, it will be better to have an option displaying the new retrieved emails only.

Features like this even not very difficult to implement make webmails more easy to use on mobile phones, remember always that we are reading in a small screen, small fonts (we’ll try to talk about accessibility in other posts), and also an amount of data that we should manage to get only the most relevant.

I usually notice that after login there is a stop page, and the a redirection to the service. I’m asking myself why this ? People using GPRS are paying on every Byte they are transferring. This will make web application on mobile phone cost more. I liked a feature in yahoo wap portal that they give you the option to browse with image and without. I always browse with image off from my mobile phone browser, but this feature make you think that this application is made for you since it gives you the possibility to browse the way you want.

If you search for Open source wap webmails you’ll find a lot of projects, but I think in the future what we need isn’t the application itself but a better user experience and a more ease to use. There is many considerations for mobile phone that are rarely taken, thats why we’ll try in the next articles to review some applications to have more details about the good and bad points in mobile phone web applications.