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Windows Live Mail Struggles on a Small Screen



Windows Live Mail Mickey Segal loves his mobile computers. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s recent switch from Outlook Express / Windows Mail to Windows Live Mail is frustrating him as he frequently uses computers that are 800 x 600 resolution. Take a look at the following areas that are frustrating Mickey, each of which could be easily addressed by providing users with options or by dynamically detecting screen resolutions:

  • Toolbars: The toolbars have buttons that take up a lot of space.  Most notably there buttons of little relevance on a day to day basis such as “Windows Live sign-in” and a button to change the color scheme. As in Internet Explorer 7 and 8 there is no way to get rid of these buttons in order to use the toolbar space for other functionality. This hogging of space is a particular problem since there is no longer a “selective text on right” option to save icon space on the toolbar. The functionality that fit well in Outlook Express and Windows Mail at 800 x 600 just doesn’t fit using Windows Live Mail, dramatically reducing the usability.
  • Accounts on the Folder Pane: Each email account has its own entry in the folder pane. Although one can consolidate recent messages using “Quick views” you are still stuck with two lines used for every email account, pushing your storage folders off the screen. Although you can move these accounts to the bottom of the folder pane, when you restart the program your customization is gone and the accounts are all back on top of your storage folders, pushing them off screen.
  • Button on the Folder Pane: There is an “Add an e-mail account” button taking up folder pane space and it appears there is no way to get rid of the button. This has priority over other material in the folder pane, for example, forcing the storage folders off screen.

It seems that one division of Microsoft is pushing mobile computing using small screens, and another division is undermining this by keeping users from fitting a lot of functionality onto a small screen. 

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