It is 2013. Sure, my email practices are probably based on conventions from 1993, but this is an ongoing personal frustration. I should say up-front that it can of course be solved by using a third-party mail client, which I do (on occasion).
On a desktop or laptop device, I’ve always preferred to run with older messages showing first, since they’re the ones that are most likely to *become* important – someone who has been waiting for a week is more likely to need their answer *now* than someone who has only just got in touch a minute ago.
It also means I can think “forward” of where I currently am, no matter what point of the day or workflow I encounter it. Having to constantly think both forwards and backwards, particularly when dealing with the user interface elements involved with navigating, dealing with and filing messages or whole conversation threads, feels completely counterproductive. Actually it’s worse – it’s nudging me towards falling in to the “tyranny of the urgent” rather than dealing with what’s actually “important” right now.
On the one hand, one could argue that not having this facility means I constantly need to re-evaluate the whole queue every time I look at it. On the other hand, I find that this approach saps functional time and energy away from the things that really *do* need doing. And I don’t like that.
So come on Google – how’s about enabling that option for more than just multi-page lists?