More than 21 ways to visualize and explore email inbox

FlowingData has an old but nonetheless a nice post of different possible visualizations of our email archives.

We need to mention that most of such tools do not allow users to manage their email. The purpose of such visualizations is primarily the reflection on ones' email usage, understanding the changes, and sometimes easier retrieval. FlowingData has all the sceenshots and short descriptions available. But we are adding additional tools which are not mentioned in their post.

More about the below listed tools (together with academic papers) can be found on the list of PIM prototypes.

FlowingData has an old but nonetheless a nice post of different possible visualizations of our email archives. The tools they mention are:

  • Exploratory
    • Mountain
    • Enron
    • The Mail
    • Contrasting Portraits
  • Analytic
    • Rhythms of Relationship
    • Dynamic coordinated email
  • Mapping
    • Small World email network
    • Spam map
    • ForwardTrack
  • Metaphor
    • Mail Garden
    • Animails
    • SpamPlants
    • 3D mailbox
  • Networks
    • My Map
    • Buddy Graph
    • Thread Arch
    • Making connections
  • Abstract
    • Spam Recycle
    • SpamPaint
    • Texone Spam
    • Spam Architecture

We need to mention that most of the above tools do not allow users to manage their email. The purpose of such visualizations is primarily the reflection on ones' email usage, understanding the changes, and sometimes easier retrieval. We will not talk about above mentioned tools as FlowingData has all the sceenshots and short descriptions available. We will add additional tools which are not mentioned above.

In aphabetical order:

ContactMap: A tool for spatially managing contacts and accessing email though them.

EmailViz (Treemaps, Correspondent Crowds and Author Lines): Three visualizations revealing hierarchical, correlational and temporal patterns in email

EzMail: An email conversation visualizer through threads and email properties aiming at easing management.

Magnet mail: A magnet metaphor for retrieving email

MailStacker Mail client with piles representation of emails

Mona An email client showing threads of messages in a graph and a conversational context with it (probably te first threading visualization)

Personal map A tool for visualizing social network based on email history and trying to understand groups of people as users grop them in their minds.

remail Email client focused on marking, email context and selective display (this one uses Thread Arcs presented in FlowingData, but the tool has to offer a lot more)

TaskView A task centric matrix based email client


Threadmap A treemap approach to show email discussions and highlighting positions, etc.

TimeStore Two dimensional time/sender matrix interface to email

Visualizing electronic mail Organization of email in a hierarchy by domain name, organization or sender's names

Zest Conversation overview of a discussion thread.


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