In Mail.app, I can already mark e-mails with different-colored flags, which allows me to come up with my own "get back soon" or "get back later" type of a system.
The assertion that e-mail hasn't changed since 1970's is false. Modern e-mail clients manage it much better. Compare Mail.app, Outlook and GMail to PINE--the difference is staggering. The true innovator in the e-mail space has been GMail, which has brought things like autosave, concepts such as embracing the fact that it is not truly productive to file every single e-mail into a purposeful folder, embracing that tagging is better than folders. GMail also really pushed the conversational view and presented it in a single-screen way that was innovative (compare how long it took e-mail clients to catch up with that... and no, "group by thread" did not compare).
I'm also very wary of anyone advertising "clean typography." People start adding spacing and now I only end up previewing 2/3rds of what I could preview in one screenful.
Being minimalistic is a bad idea when you don't know what you're doing. For example, there are reasons why a link is in blue and 'call-to-action' buttons are in red (like the 'Compose' button, as in Gmail). The purpose of red is to let the user know its something 'important'. The designer of this app in question chooses to ignore these UX concepts and seems to choose beauty and aesthetics over these fundamentals and over-uses the red color (even his navbar is in full red..duh). And that's truly a bad sign for someone wanting to show themselves/their products as professional, especially when the selling point IS the UX.
Each headline being the suvject being an email with all the comments being the replies. Different users can reply in a threaded way to all the recipients of the message etc.
Obviously it would need in-line attachements and in-line pictures.
It would be interesting to allow a vote system on messages. Rather than file them, you down or up vote them. But in your box, you have more than one vote so you can apply more or less weight to info. Along with tags and groups and many other things that I can think of...
That would be cool.
If you had some sort of standard with various different native clients, then it might work.
As in Gmail?
As cookingrobot says, gmails threading is one dimensional and super clunky when you have lots of replies. It auto collapses to far so you can't easily reply to a particular message in the thread.
Reddit has the best comment threading system of any site online. Quora is near the worst. HN is just slightly frustrating.
Reddit used be written in Lisp, but they switched to Python early on: http://blog.reddit.com/2005/12/on-lisp.html
I do agree that they look alike, Hacker News was inspired by Reddit.
No one seems to get this, not HN, not Quora, Digg (though that doesn't matter any longer...)
Its about increasing the information consumption rate and navigation rate. Collapsing is critical to navigating threads with thousands of comments, even tens of comments!
Any UX designer who does not see this, is, in my book, worthless.
> you can't reply to one person's comment
I don't know if it was there from the beginning, but I have always used rules which say "apply filter and skip inbox" effectively giving me separate folders. To each his own; I don't like kitchen-sink inbox, and like separate folders to just tagging.
For example: A error email gets sent to a development mailing list. Normally I tag all of the mailing list emails, and skip the inbox.
- What if I want the error email to stay in my inbox, but only if it's an error email?
- What if I want that email to get tagged as "ERRORS" and "DEV_LIST" and skip the Inbox?
I have to do weird filters like:
filter #1 - if list:DEV_LIST and not subject:ERROR
then tag w/ DEV_LIST and skip Inbox
filter #2 - if list:DEV_LIST and subject:ERROR
then tag w/ DEV_LIST and tag w/ ERROR
filter #1 - if list:DEV_LIST and not subject:ERROR
then tag w/ DEV_LIST and skip Inbox
filter #2 - if list:DEV_LIST and subject:ERROR
then tag w/ DEV_LIST and tag w/ ERROR and skip Inbox
But tagging allows you to have a folder-like appearance but removes to 1:1 relationship. I can have a folder of 'emails sent to me specifically' and an 'emails from my accountant' that happens to have the same message. This is super useful.
Small nit, Outlook 2003 had AutoSave. GMail was publicly introduced in 2004.
> embracing the fact that it is not truly productive to file every single e-mail into a purposeful folder
That's the "Inbox"
> embracing that tagging is better than folders.
I'm pretty sure that Outlook has had categories (the color-coded custom named things that can be multiply applied to emails) since 2000ish.
>That's the "Inbox"
In Outlook terms it's search folders.
Autosave was definitely not first in GMail. Thunderbird also allowed messages to be sorted by thread a while back (which you could argue was a rough precursor to GMail's conversation view).
I love GMail's conversation view, but AFAIK, not really many other desktop email clients have adopted it. Who else has it?
In particular, it doesn't include you or your sent mail in the conversation (http://i.imgur.com/Atkcu.png). It only lets you expand the email quotation to let you dig through nested context (http://i.imgur.com/1Zj2e.png).
Compare this to gmail (http://i.imgur.com/mLel3.png) that actually handles it as a conversation. It's one of the reasons I use Mailplane (thin wrapper around gmail) instead of Mail.app.
I use gmail, and I use Outlook and PINE and Netscape Mail and Eudora etc and I can't work out what was improved.
Threads are a sort of pre-Web 2.0 way of doing things. The messages are linked together in the tree portion of the UI but are still viewed individually in the viewing pane. They aren't stacked together like they are in a typical conversation view.
Conversations are a more modern, succinct take on what threads were trying to be.
Also, if I receive a message, reply to it and archive that thread it goes away. But if that person reply's again it brings the whole conversation back to the inbox so I can see the previous messages as well.
As someone who uses the inbox as a partial todo list that is amazing. It makes it difficult to switch from gmail, although I've been using mu4e inside emacs.
I like being able to sort things away that I don't read often, but GMail told me I didn't want a "read untagged messages" view so it wouldn't let me do that.
In other words, vaporware (so far).
It now reads "Currently I'm developing a prototype and then move into development. A MacOSX app is going to be the first release."
You're essentially containing all of the work necessary to resolve the subject of the email within the client itself. You could allow for app plugins/extensions so that others could develop hooks into various services.
Other than that, it looks clean and simple. I'm eager to try it out when it's launched.
Interesting how many new email clients are emerging this summer. I'm taking note due to the likely abandonment of Sparrow. Also due to come out "this summer" is Mail Pilot: http://mail-pilot.com/
It's difficult for me to invest the time (and effort) required to use a service like this, when that investment could easily just go away when the service is pulled for whatever reason. Or, if their servers are down will I have robust access to my mail client?
One of the nice things about old email is that it is portable. Metadata on 3rd party servers seems to cast this positive aspect about email aside.
Some aspects of these new emerging services are novel, specifically the UI and layout of features. As many have pointed out recently, similar functionality has existed in mail clients for years. However, not every email user is aware that their use of email could be made more productive just by utilizing the tools already in their email environment. I would guess these mail client-services are catering to that market -- the less technically inclined. Consequently, these customers are less likely to know or care about the implications of spreading vital work-related or important data across new and potentially volatile services.
That said, I do support nice-looking and more usable email clients, just not at the cost of dependence on a 3rd party service.
But the idea of SSO for email is a bad one, in my opinion. Email, more than my user account on a site, defines my online identity—and therefore needs the greatest protection.
Having said that, the idea behind .mail app is elegant, well thought and a step forward. Kudos.
Last time I checked, it's still available for download. My understanding was that it just isn't in active development anymore.
I use it as my primary mail client on my personal machine, and it does pretty much everything I'd want as is.
It's got a great UI and I love it, but it's buggy as hell. Slow, sometimes doesn't refresh, the DB grows to 10s of GBs.
As much as I like it, the fact that there's not going to be any more updates has gotten me to switch off it.
Software is fluid, not static. Any software that is not being updated, I believe any rational user should move on to ones that are.
I honestly like the proposed Attachments and Notifications features (I'm also not a mail client aficionado, so I don't know if these are particularly groundbreaking), but the Actionsteps thing sounds clumsy to me. If my problem is that I don't have enough time to parse, read, and respond to all of my email, I don't understand how adding another step will alleviate that.
Other than the "Actionsteps," a lot of what's in this proposed client sounds a lot like features in Postbox. I can switch to a "show me all attachments" view, for instance, and Postbox works very well with a lot of GMail-specific features (labels, priority, etc.).
Actually, this is the greatest advantage of email: its extreme portability across platforms and clients.
We can reinvent the way we interact with it, but we don't need to reinvent the technology itself. This is an immensely important distinction.
Wouldn't it be interesting if the sender of an email could specify what Actionsteps are required for a given email? i.e. The sender specifies that an email should be: read by the receiver, replied to by the receiver, forwarded to a specific department, complete a specific task, etc.
Maybe not a great look for an email app.
It's looking really good, can't wait to try it!
Link to concept post: http://www.vanschneider.com/work/mail/
And original HN post: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4223869
If you're interested in this and you're a GMail user you might also be interested in Active Inbox which adds some useful features on top of Gmail. It lets you mark emails GTD style as "Action" (requires an action), "Waiting" (waiting on someone else) or "SomeDay" (there's an action to take, but you might not do it now). It also has an easy way to sort emails by project and some other useful features.
Disclaimer: I met Andy of Active Inbox recently and ended up doing a few days work on the product. But I was a happy (and paying) user of Active Inbox before that!
It looks nice, but I think you have shot yourself in the foot for trying to release a Mac app first. Windows doesn't have any good email application that is still developed anymore. Pretty much the choices are Outlook and Thunderbird (the latter of which was just announced would have no more feature developing). People are looking for the next email client to flock to...
I do, however, really applaude the precision with which this project has appealed to people's desires.
actionsteps are stars in gmail, i use yellow & red bang, and red star .. just press s to rotate,
attachments have never been an issue but maybe thats just me, searching for "from:a@b has:att<down><tab>" is quite quick enough
and using filters & labels gives me the notification functionality, e.g. messages from facebook get a label, i can see facebook (3) or whatever on the left, but it will work for any type of email i wish.
"meh" is my main reaction to this, unless it has something new and is as transparent to synchronisation across devices as gmail i won't be interested
What I would love to see is a mail client that does away with the antiquated inbox/sent paradigm. It would be replaced by active/archived. If I send an email, it would appear in my active list until the expected outcome is achieved (eg. a reply). At that point I archive it. Sent and received would sit in the same view (like Facebook, etc), why they don't already on clients is beyond me. I shouldnt have to manage 2 views to ensure I've acted on received and others have acted on my sent.
Which is a big deal for me. As for .Mail seems like you pay for the app such as Sparrow (which it looks similar too) and not have to pay monthly for it.
I plan on buying it if it comes out as it shows and does what it does.
Anyone know when it is coming out? And if it will have a monthly cost?
Really looking forward to checking out this app, and I really hope Tobias is either secretly an incredible osx programmer or is going to get one on board to help, because it would be a shame to see a beautifully designed interface like this be brought down by poor implementation.
This would be a lot easier if that application was open source, but having a modular architecture and malleable/extensible design would be more important.
Does anyone have thoughts on application that are designed such that features can be added to it easily?
I usually never leave my keyboard when reading/writing emails. Keyboard shortcuts on GMail (and Sparrow) have been the most important feature for me to get my mail done faster.
I would like better attachment management than I've got now, so I'll probably take a peek. Thanks.
Focusing in the email textbox, followed by tabbing out causes the box to shift down (pretty sure that's not intentional)
But on a more serious note, it doesn't look like a cocoa app to me so I'm not that keen on it. Too much custom UI and looks more at home on Windows 8