back to article IBM reveals radical email interface rethink

IBM has revealed a radical new user interface for email at its Connect 2014 conference in the USA. Dubbed Mail Next, the new interface is inspired by social media and billed as a quantum leap beyond the likes of Outlook. There's a lengthy explanation of the approach in this video of a Connect keynote. We've asked IBM for high …


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  1. solo

    Radical and confusing

    Let us not make photos mandatory for sending mails. And, if the senders don't have their faces available, how funny the upper part would look like.

  2. Khaptain Silver badge


    Please, please, please do not use ANY of the code form the Lotus Notes/Domino code base.

    And no, having people's faces on the main page is not a good idea, that is merely pandering to the Facebook crowd ( and we already that they are on their way to extinction)...

    1. I'm Brian and so's my wife

      Re: Request

      I'm going on the assumption that the downvote to your comment was due to an involuntary muscle spasm.

      It hardly seems fair that I can only upvote you once. I hate Notes so much, but it does have one redeeming feature that I don't believe Outlook has: collapsible sections. But that's it. The address book integration is awful, the calendar and scheduling is awful, the ... sorry, I got a bit worked up, I'll leave it there...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Request

      Everyone hates Notes (note: it's no longer Lotus Notes, the Lotus brand has been dropped), however iNotes (the web interface as opposed to the fully bloated application) is *significantly* better and more akin to standard webmail (in places better) albeit slightly dated.

      Having noted that I wish Notes was taken out back with a shotgun I can only pray for a different fate for Sametime, which is actually a pretty good piece of software and miles better than the Microsoft alternatives (Lync/Messenger/Whatever we're calling it today).

      Full disclosure: Anon as I work for Big Blue

      1. I'm Brian and so's my wife

        Re: Request

        I'm not so sure about SameTime. I don't doubt that a significant part of my dislike may be due to the corporate setup (I think there's an overnight PeopleSoft extract that dumps info into Notes?) and there are doubtless others who think Active Directory is a conical pile of poo, but I liked using Lync. It was slow at times (corporate setup again?) but I found it easy to go from IM chat to teleconf to screen sharing / controlling as required. As a technical user (my specialties lie elsewhere) it worked pretty well.

        That said, I didn't like the Lync/Outlook logging / tracking feature and I know I'm not alone in finding Outlook's limited space for mail rules a daily course in pure fury.

        Honestly, email's been here a while: has anyone done the feature set really well across the board?

  3. Stephen Channell

    a less crap Lostit Notes would be a start

    Lostit Notes search is beyond doubt awful and not properly updated for the new millennium.

    nobody is ditching Lostit Notes for lack of photos.

    1. Eradicate all BB entrants

      Re: a less crap Lostit Notes would be a start

      Never mind the millennium it wasn't updated for the 90's. It was embarrassing having to mail external people and companies, because from previous experience I knew what they looked like in other email clients.

      Even by 2010 it hadn't caught up to Outlook Express from the 90's.

      But for the IT masochist out there I can heartily recommend the following combination will ruin your life ...... Domino + BES.

  4. Barry Rueger

    Email = Text

    Every time you add pictures, or great swaths of white space, to a page, you've decreased the amount of text that is displayed.

    Give me e-mail client that makes text the focus, and which can display a large number of useful things on one screen.

    There's a reason why the basic e-mail client presentation hasn't changed since pretty much the inception of e-mail... it works.

    1. Captain Scarlet

      Re: Email = Text

      I agree, this feels like a massive step back just like comparing the Windows 7 to Windows 8 interface.

      I still think previewing part of the message in the email list would benefit both Outlook and Notes (Just in case its been added I use Outlook 2010 and have used Notes up to the Version 8 ntf).

      Maybe they think everyone will start communicating with lolcats

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Email = Text

        I'd like an email client that could permanently strip out the crap in incoming emails, i.e. stupid disclaimers and even worse, excessive signatures. Those few MB add up and fill up my email quota.

      2. Greybeard3

        Re: Email = Text

        You mean like Outlook autopreview, that's been there forever? Or something else?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Was this created by the same team that built the Lotus Notes client ?

    1. FartingHippo

      Re: Notes

      No. That team was taken to Antarctica, locked in a vault, which was then sealed in concrete, which was then dropped down a borehole into a subterranean sea. The borehole was then explosively collapsed and the whole Plateau sealed under six metres of superglue filled with landmines and anthrax spores.

      1. I'm Brian and so's my wife

        Re: Notes


  6. Roger Greenwood


    Being able to analyse and categorise mail (both sent and received) according to time would be an improvement. e.g. I send an email and want a reply within a week. So I need a reminder in a week to chase it.

    This has got to be easier than it is now so no more clicks/presses from me - must be largely automatic as the mail is composed/sent.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some people really never heard the term 'stick to what you're good at'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Notes dev team don't have that luxury as thy don't have anything they were ever good at.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bring back cc:mail

    Bring back cc:Mail :-) It went off the rails after that...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    memo to IBM

    KDE's KMail. You should really look into it.

    Just sayin'.

    1. poohbear

      Re: memo to IBM

      Actually PMMail (originally OS/2) still has some tricks that KMail can't do. Moving to Kmail was a bit of a compromise but I still prefer KMail to those nasty HTML interfaces. Used to enjoy Golded on DOS. Used cc:mail at work , it drove me nuts (but not quite as much as Word, which reduced me to a swearing and desk pounding) until we were migrated to Lotus Notes, much to my utter amazement and confusion, since it did NOT play nice with the rest of the email universe and was an exercise in frustration. Here's the graveyard:

  10. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Poor, poor IBM - how once great was it?

    And now it wants, seeks and hopes to push something that is a quantum leap ahead of Outlook?

    I mean, what email tool is not a quantum leap ahead of Outlook?

  11. gerdesj Silver badge


    Do marketeers and other noddys have any idea just how small a quantum leap ( is?

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: QL

      "Do marketeers and other noddys have any idea just how small a quantum leap ( is?"

      Of course they do, that's why they use it.

      A term that means the least possible change, yet sounds progressive and powerful.

  12. The Vociferous Time Waster


    Not aimed at you guys. It's aimed at the chimps in sales and the orangutangs in marketing who might feel better about their company not having outlook like the cool crowd if they have some sprinkles of useless social on their email client.

    Same people who got iPhones because all the plebs in IT had a blackberry.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The e-mail war is lost

    For anything but the smallest of organisations shifting their e-mail from one thing to another is a huge undertaking, and that's why many organisations get stuck on old versions. So for those organisations running Outlook and Exchange, they're not going to stray too far from that. The Lotus brand was toxic, that was why IBM dropped it. Notes also has a stinky name and is disappearing quick. IBM just don't have the mindshare for e-mail now. One of the things that killed off Notes was the lack of 3rd party integration - so many products integrated with Outlook but didn't integrate with Notes (e.g. ERP, HR, workflow, etc). Companies will look at this, ask "does it integrate with X?... no? forget it then".

    Certainly Microsoft need to shake things up a bit too, but most people just want what they already have and just a bit better.

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