Whenever I have run into a situation where someone goes… 


We talked about this last month Hari! Remember you said….. and I said ….and blah blah….

… I used to wonder how it would be nice to have a

conversation view

for all conversations we ever had.

If you think about it, great ideas just fade into oblivion, good prospects are lost and projects get delayed because we are unable to connect the dots and keep in sync with our discussions and conversations. Thanks to the rather exclusive conversation thread view feature in

Zoho Mail
, I am able to catch up on all my email conversations.

Recently, I was checking the feedback received from Zoho Mail users who chose to take the optional survey when they logged out (Thank you all). To my surprise, 47% have said that they never use the conversation view. Then these questions ran through my mind:

  • Is it possible that 47% never had any long conversations over email?

  • Are users just not aware that a conversation view exists?

  • Conversation view is redundant and not used much? (In my opinion, this cannot be)

Well, to make it clear, conversation view does exist in Zoho Mail. Unlike in other email programs that stack incoming responses, it is


by a small


 like icon (check Figure below) without affecting the classic inbox message arrangement. Maybe our design was so focused on not being a distraction and missed out on attraction?
Switching to Zoho Mail's Conversation View

All you do is click the chat-bubble icon to unfold the conversation, displayed in a threaded view format which, I think is special. Why do I think so? Let’s see:
Zoho Mail's Conversation Thread View

Specialties in Zoho Mail Conversation View:

  • Skim through the entire conversation

    This is made possible by messages arranged in a thread view fashion with a part of the first line of all responses. This can particularly be helpful for business email users to quickly catch up on their exchanges with customers and prospects. All you do is search for the name and then unfold the conversation by clicking the mentioned chat-bubble icon.

  • Just click-read your way through the thread

    If skimming through does not suffice, you can just click a response in the thread and view the full message in the bottom pane. No need to scroll your way up and down the conversation. Can you imagine how painful it can be to scroll through a thread with 30+ exchanges?

  • know the exact order of how conversations unfold                   

    Ever found yourself lost in between an elaborate back and forth discussion in emails with many in CC? Now take a look at the conversation view snapshot of a discussion we had about improving Zoho’s social media presence. It is so easy to follow, who replied to whom and how the conversation unfolded from start to end. Also notice how some responses branch off into separate threads / sub-topics? This helps to exactly understand the context of responses, saving time in trying to figure things out.

  • Label or flag individual messages

    So, you are clicking through the conversation and run into a response from someone with that important information, idea, proposal or you-name-it, something useful. You can quickly set a flag or assign a label right there to that message.

  • Label the entire thread / conversation

    Well, if you find the whole conversation to bear substance, assign a label to the entire thread. I labelled our entire conversation shown in the snapshot ‘SocialMediaDiss’. This way whenever someone goes, ‘Remember the social media discussion last year’, its just a click-on-a-label away.

In fact, I feel the conversation view is a must have for

business email
 purposes with many CCs and group email addresses involved in messages. For instance, at times I forward a message sent to me to someone who can handle it better. Then a couple of days pass, I shift focus to other incoming messages and suddenly run into a response addressed to me again from a previous thread. Now, what do I do to catch up on what happened in between? Yes,

one click to unfold the conversation


If you are already a Zoho Mail user, feel free to comment about your views on the conversation view feature, particularly improvements you would like to see.

If you are someone using another email service featuring the stacked type conversation view, try

Zoho Mail
. You may like the change. You are big fan of the stacked view? Tell us why.

Oops! Just realized my screen shot reveals another feature update we are working on and testing within our team.  Any guesses on what it is?

  1. Raj

    how to delete chat conversation?? I was trying but didt get any!!!

  2. bdonowho

    I like the conversation view as well. A nice enhancement from my perspective would be the ability to delete msgs from within the conversation view, either individually or by selecting several at a time. I personally like to save only the last msg from a conversation and this would make it easier to manage my email with that objective in mind.

  3. info

    The way Zoho has implemented conversation is the best solution I’ve ever seen in any client and web-based email system. Great Job!!A couple of suggestion from my point of view:
    – make labeling an entire conversation easier to access also from a single message: “Label entire thread” is available after opening up the thread, so it’s not right inside the message , it’s 1 more click away for me, a little annoying 🙁
    – if I have a long conversation and I label it entirely, I see each single messages in the conversation under that label, which makes the label very cluttered pretty soon.In this sense gmail is cleaner.In fact I’m using labels to track the status of a client request (i.e. labels like “replied”, “followup”,”closed-ok”,”closed-ko”) and/or assign it to an agent (i.e. “Agent 1″,”Agent 2”).I’d like to take this opportunity to suggest something I’d love to see in Zoho email: a workflow system for business shared email.
    See unifiedinbox.com or http://www.emailcenterpro.com to get a sense of what I mean.Shared inbox like info@ or sales@ where multiple agents take turn in answering customers quickly become nightmares and trouble ticketing applications often fall short as well…
    is this something Zoho can consider?thanks! you guys rock!

  4. Dave

    You all have created the best layout for threaded conversations, and it is much appreciated. Bravo!