A Universal Inbox

These images show how the interface of Apple’s Mail could (theoretically) be extended to handle syndication feeds and voice and video messages.

  1. My del.icio.us inbox via syndication
  2. An audio message (voicemail)
  3. A video message

Some notes:

  • As seen in the second image, threading would work across mediums. Users could pick how to reply to a given item based on the sender’s availability, but whichever medium a user chose, it would be seen as a continuation of a thread.
  • The Subject line for audio and video messages would be input by the sender after recording the audio/video message portion. For spam prevention reasons, a recipient-side contact permissions architecture would be required for setting who can leave audio and video messages and how long they can be. This concept is addressed in part by my Message Center mockup.
  • The audio and video controls are the same as seen when loading a file with the QuickTime plug-in, which is where those screenshots come from. Obviously, anyone would be able to save their messages as stand-alone files; this functionality would not be limited to QuickTime Pro license holders.
  • The display of Related objects would, as the triangle widget hopefully conveys, be toggle-able. A preference to turn it off altogether would probably be needed. I’m not satisfied with my design, but have been unable to think of ways to substantially improve it. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
  • Curio 2‘s gradient function is spiffy. The imitation Spotlight highlight bar is just two stacked boxes with different gradients applied. The text was shadowed using the built-in Cocoa font controls.
  • Jeff Beck is Guitarosaurus Rex. Get both Wired and Blow By Blow.

I’m not sure just how well this interface would handle syndication feeds, but I’m pretty confident that it would work well for audio and video messages because of the more constrained communication loop.

Published by

Daniel J. Wilson

I am a designer, drummer, and photographer in Brooklyn, NY.