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Multiple Identities on One Small Screen

I’m in the middle of integrating a new email address/address book/VPN/etc. into my various computing devices, and am realizing more than I did before how much the screen size of my iPhone affects how I can and want to include it in this mix.

The small screen size necessitates some compromises in how the UI of E-mail and contact databases are organized and presented. One of the most fascinating bifurcations that Apple made here is that while it is possible to have distinctly separate E-mail, and calendar accounts, it is not always obvious which account a particular item belongs to.

In fact, it wasn’t until I added this third E-mail account that I even realized that Contacts supported separate contact accounts (its default, of course, is to show the combined contacts from all accounts).

Once I realized this, I went looking for some visual indication in the E-mail, Calendar, and Contacts app of which account any particular item is associated with. Just about none—and none at all when you are viewing an individual item.

The only place I found any indication at all is the little colored bullet next to Calendar items. But mapping this requires tapping on the “Calendars” button and then remembering which color in that legend is associated with each account.

There has to be a better way. (And it would be cool if it was possible to easily move or copy individual items between different accounts.)

Posted in Design, iPhone, Usability.

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