AOL last updated its email interface in 2007. Since then, the company has left well enough alone (or what might have been deemed “well enough”). But, it’s never a good idea in the constantly shifting and changing tech world to leave things be. This is a lesson that AOL has just learned. In an effort to stop AOL users from finding a new and modern mail service, the company has just revamped its email interface for the first time in five years.
If you have been using AOL for the past five years and are now perplexed, there are some changes worthy of note. Don’t worry though, AOL’s new email interface is still user-friendly and you will still be able to use your email as you always have (but now is so much more modern). Here are the things that you need to know in order to navigate your new AOL inbox.
A Mean and Clean Machine (Kind Of)
AOL’s goal in revamping its email interface was to cut down on clutter. This makes a good deal of sense, since it is a clutter-free world. Just take a look at any given top website. But cutting down on clutter isn’t necessarily the way to go if the result is a confusing interface. Some die-hard AOL users might find the new email more than a bit confusing, but there are simple enough ways to navigate. First, let’s talk about “Mini-Apps.”
At the top of the AIM window, users will see small tabs. These tabs are labeled with such actions as “contacts,” “to-do lists,” and “events.” For some reason (this reasoning still baffles me), AOL has named these tabs “Mini-Apps.” Are they really apps? Not in the true sense; but it seems as though AOL wants to cash in on that app term. In any case, clicking on any number of these tabs will provide you with instant access to your contacts, to-do lists, or events. Another quick-link upgrade sits right above the inbox.
Directly above the inbox are quick links to text or AOL’s instant messenger system, AIM. Oddly, there’s also an email “refresh” button. I’m not certain whether AOL’s email doesn’t automatically refresh (as is the case with Gmail) or if AOL just wanted to provide users with a faster way to refresh that doesn’t include tapping the “inbox” button periodically. In any case, that refresh button is there and waiting if you want to use it. Lastly, AOL has updated its tired font. You’ll find that a new font awaits you, and you may also find that this font is easier to read.
Is AOL Still In the Game?
It’s hard to imagine how AOL could have hung onto email users for five years without revamping its email interface. After all, competitors update their email interfaces regularly, so it’s tough to see how AOL could neglect to follow suit. Yet, there are some people who still prefer to use AOL above all else, and these people will find the new interface different if not useful.