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To keep its 24M users from fleeing, AOL redesigns Mail with much sharper look

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AOL has completely revamped its email service with a cleaner design, a move that could help keep the 24 million users it has left from moving to competitors.

The service now features a design with less clutter and an ad bar that’s been moved from the top of the page to the right side. AOL Mail’s design has not been refreshed in five years, so the company thought it was time for a change.

“People have email fatigue, so we wanted something more modern and lighter than in the past,” Joshua Ramirez, senior director of product for AOL Mail, told VentureBeat. “We’re spent a lot of time with an emphasis on improving the design and experience.”

On top of a cleaner design, the company has also added what it calls “mini-apps” for managing “AIM, contacts, events, and to-do lists” in a single location. Notably, people can IM each other using AIM, Facebook chat, and SMS all while looking at the inbox. Users can also customize the look of their inboxes with more than 40 colorful themes.

AOL Mail’s user base has been decimated over the years. In 2006, it had 48 million monthly users. Then, in 2009, Gmail overtook AOL’s 36 million users to become the third-place email provider behind Hotmail and Yahoo. Now AOL has 24 million monthly active users, while Gmail claims 425 million monthly actives.

“Part of this is about making AOL Mail a growth product again,” Ramirez said.

AOL has been steadily working on this product since last year. The company has slowly rolled out the new design to its users, and 50 percent of them were able to try the new design before the launch. But today, when all AOL Mail users log in, they will see the new design.

Take a look at the old AOL Mail design below to see how much better the new design is:

AOL-Mail-old

Photo credit: AOL

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