Graphical browsing of email data: A usability based comparative study

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Problem statement: With the rapid growth of the number of email messages and the diverse use of email, people have become overwhelmed by the large volumes of email archives. As a result, email tools that facilitate the browsing of email messages are highly required. This study described an empirical study that aimed to investigate whether the usability of email client can be improved by incorporating graphical visualization techniques to browse email data. Approach: Two email visualization approaches, called LinearVis and MatrixVis, were developed for this empirical study which presented email messages based on a dateline together with other email information. The usability of each approach was compared to atypical email tool in terms of locating messages. Results: The results demonstrated that LinearVis was the most usable email approach in terms of browsing email messages whereas MatrixVis was found to be the least usable email condition. Conclusion: The results showed that usability of email clients can be significantly improved by presenting graphically email messages with only a small volume of hidden email data. Results also indicated that usability of the graphical representations, that hide large volume of email data, can be negatively affected. © 2009 Science Publications.




Rigas, D., & Alharbi, S. (2009). Graphical browsing of email data: A usability based comparative study. Journal of Computer Science, 5(10), 690–703.

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