If Emails Worked Like URLs…
…there would be less triaging involved.
Over the weekend, I received a few emails for possible design work. Immediately, I applied my red Gmail label.
But then I thought, what if emails worked like URLs? As you’ve probably read elsewhere, I’m currently working on an email application for the iPad. It’s called Evomail and with it, we plan to tackle email volume, management, and action times.
The management part is where triaging comes in. We do it every morning when we roll out of bed, grab our smartphones, and start sifting through the overnight delivery. Archiving here, deleting there, and most importantly smacking on labels for when we hop on the desktop.
These labels act as subfolders to our inboxes. But what if our email addresses could access these folders too? Then they’d resemble URLs. And that’d be a good thing.
Let me explain
Take the average freelancer for example. Their “hire me” URL usually resembles this: johndoe.com/hire
And their email address usually resembles this: email@example.com
Now normally, Mr. Doe will receive an email in his inbox alerting him of a new follower on Twitter. Right above it, there might be an email from someone inquiring about a possible contract job. He’d then scan the email and apply his contract/work/hire label to it. Whatever it might be named.
But wouldn’t it be cool if people could send him freelance related emails to this? firstname.lastname@example.org/hire
note: I’m aware of the +tag syntax. Read last paragraph.
And as soon as the email reaches the inbox, Gmail detects the referenced subfolder/label and applies it automatically. One less email to triage. Do this a couple times and you’ll be waking up to a sorted colorful inbox.
All of those social network notification emails? Change your email address in their settings to email@example.com/social and have Gmail apply your “Social” label to all of them. Now you can sift through them separately.
Future email clients can even then take advantage of this action by allowing you to hide certain /folders from your main inbox. (thereby cleaning it out, further)
Taking it a step further, companies could trim down the amount of Gmail “Groups” created. Instead of firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com, you’d simply create subfolders. Less switching between accounts. Then you’d grant your staff access to specific folders (if they’re not meant to see it, it’ll never appear in their inbox).
Obviously, there are some flaws here. But the thought came to me and I though I might share it.
Auto-sorting based on an appended subfolder.
I guess the next step would be a syntax proposition. Yes, I proposed micmicing the URL scheme, but we could also use Gmail’s existing +whatever tag syntax. Except this time, Google will do the label applying for you.
my+[label name]@gmail.com. Any emails sent to this will automatically be applied the appended label.
I’m on Twitter.