For the October 2013 visual overhaul of Yahoo Mail, I was charged with redesigning the compose and reply experience. The challenge here was that I was a month old at Yahoo and the product has a 16 year legacy. Every stakeholder from my developer colleagues, right up to the CEO had very strong opinions about the way this critical component of the experience should work. Add to that, this is an experience that is used tens of millions of times every day.
The charter and the permission space was for just a visual redesign, but I worked on pushing through a number of small improvements in the overall experience of writing an email. The new design was very well received within the organization and upon release won some kind mentions in the technology press too.
The Old Design
The existing experience consisted of 3 separate compose experiences, a compose, a minimal quick reply and a full reply mode. There was also a lot of clutter from a number of formatting tools that analytics showed, were barely being used.
The New Design
The Design Details