The leaves may not have changed colors yet, but computer screens around the world have.

Students accustomed to seeing the bright blue Yale WebMail screen when they checked their e-mail over the summer found themselves greeted instead by the new gray and purple IMP system launched in mid-August by Information Technology Services.

Both the old and new systems allow students to check their Yale e-mail accounts from any type of Web browser, but ITS Director Philip Long said in an e-mail that IMP is far better than the old system.

Morgan Richards ’05 agreed.

“I definitely think it’s better than the last [Web-based e-mail service],” Richards said in an e-mail. “But I prefer Outlook.”

Long said the primary reason for the switch to IMP was ease of use, and he says the response from IMP users who filled out comments has been overwhelmingly positive.

Long said he is confident in the new system, which he called highly successful to date.

“[But] we will keep [the old system available] long enough to see that IMP is fully satisfactory and to give folks a reasonable time to convert,” he said.

Though Long said he is proud of the system, he added that he understands its limitations, which are reflected in a notice on the ITS web site .

“As with all web-based e-mail systems, IMP E-mail is not intended to take the place of locally installed e-mail programs such as Eudora, Netscape and Pine,” the message says. “IMP is a program that can be convenient for you to use when away from your own computer, to check for and respond to brief e-mail — If you own a computer, ITS recommends you install and use a program such as Eudora or Netscape to read your e-mail rather then use IMP E-mail as your main e-mail program.”

Long said the system has needed — and has been given — some attention since its inception.

“We did discover that IMP required more processing power than Web Express and we doubled the IMP machine capacity in late August,” Long said. “So far that configuration has managed the back-to-school load very nicely.”

One major difference between the new and old systems is new color-coded e-mail labels indicating if mail is new, seen, answered, important or deleted. In addition, two folders labeled “messages to” and “postponed-mail” store incoming and outgoing mail.

Jennifer Simmen ’03 uses Eudora for her e-mail but over the summer she used the Web-based system. She said that she prefers the new system to the old one.

“[It seems] more efficient and streamlined; it makes it easier to check my mail than the old service did,” Simmen said.

“All in all, I’m a fan of the new ITS webmail service.”