Almost a year ago we rolled out a new webmail interface for users to test on our beta server. During the last year we have made significant updates, improvements and tweaks, and today we are launching this as the main interface for our users, along with a redesigned homepage and website at www.fastmail.fm.
The main improvements the new interface brings are:
- Speed — Opening and dealing with email is now much faster, with many actions happening instantly, thanks to a full redesign with modern technologies that allow for pre-fetching and caching.
- Conversations — Emails on the same topic can be grouped together into conversations (even across folders), so you can see the back and forth history of messages, replies and forwards. Of course, this can be turned off if you like to deal with all messages individually.
- Push updates — New email deliveries are pushed straight to your Inbox, so they appear instantly without you needing to refresh.
- Archiving — To make dealing with your Inbox easier, the new default action is to Archive messages. This allows you to quickly move messages you have dealt with out of your Inbox, but still keep them for searching and referencing at a later date.
- Simplicity — FastMail has always provided power, but in some cases that has caused extra complexity where it is not needed. We have reduced the complexity of many of our configuration screens to make common tasks easier. For example, setting up automated retrieval of email from an external account now requires just a username and password in most cases, the rest is automatically determined.
We’ve put together a short (2 minute) video showing how all these improvements (and more) come together to create a great experience for our users.
While we believe that this new interface is a huge improvement, if you would like to continue using the existing interface, you can do so by checking the “Use classic interface” checkbox on the login screen (click the More link on the login screen to see it), or by logging in via https://classic.fastmail.fm. Older browsers that do not have the required support for modern web technologies used by the new interface, such as Internet Explorer 6 or 7, will also continue to get the existing interface automatically.
If you are thinking of continuing to use the existing interface because of some particular feature you like, then also consider that an equivalent might be available in the new interface as well. For instance, if you really don’t like conversations, you can disable conversations on the Settings –> Preferences pane, select the “Show every message separately” radio button. Similarly, if you don’t like the preview on every message, you can also turn that off on the same page. Unfortunately you can’t show a preview for only unread emails, it’s either all or none with the new interface.
We have not yet updated our help documentation; we are currently working on that and hope to have it done soon. We do not believe this is a major impediment to users using the new interface as most of the features are highly discoverable as needed.