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November 5, 2006

Screen Estate in Webmail Applications

Space is important when you use an application every day. I compared three webmail sites: Windows Live Mail, Yahoo Mail (Beta) and Gmail, to see which one uses screen's size better.

I loaded Yahoo Mail and Gmail in Firefox 2.0 and Windows Live Mail in IE7, as it had problems loading in Firefox.

Gmail: 1275x612 page -> 847x457 mail content (49.6%)
Windows Live Mail: 1275x622 page -> 847x386 mail content (41.2%)
Yahoo Mail: 1275x612 page -> 914x321 mail content (37.6%)

In Yahoo Mail you can open a message in a new tab, while in Windows Live Mail you can hide the list of messages. But, by default, both sites devote much less to email's content than Gmail. As a comparison, Mozilla Thunderbird uses 51.3% from the window size to display message. So, although Yahoo Mail Beta and Windows Live Mail try to look similar to a desktop application, they neglect an important aspect: how easy is to read mail?

Note: These numbers were obtained using the default settings and 1280x800 resolution.

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