Email Footnoting (It’s more fun than it sounds)

Yesterday I helped a friend doing some user testing for the UI on an email application he is building for mobile. The colors and lay out are designed to help you sort through massive numbers of emails very quickly.

In the group testing this email option there were several different kinds of behaviors:

  • InBox Zero: the person who tries to answer and manage emails as quickly as possible and then tagging, archiving and moving on
  • Delete Nothing, Read 5%: the person who has 15,000 unread emails in their inbox. We all know someone…
  • Designated Email Time: this person sets aside a specific time block for reading and responding to emails. This means some days are rough and cannot possibly be interested in the time designated for the task.

I fall in the InBox Zero: read, reply, tag, archive. The only emails that stay in my inbox are either 1) Unread — these are either new or I have read them and need to set aside a time to respond to them or 2) Read, but in my inbox because I have responded to them and need to keep an eye on the project/idea/conversation for follow up, should the need for some prodding for a response arise.

I played with the app and its UI for a while. I don’t have enough emails for some of the primary functions on it (handling massive numbers of emails with tags and boomeranging them to a later date), but it was fun to talk through the UI architecture concept.

I was asked, what would you like to see in an email app?

I would LOVE it if I could add a notes section to my emails. Since the emails in my inbox have very specific reasons for being there… I’d love to be able to add a sticky or a comment bubble that reminds me:

  1. what I need to do before I respond to this email,
  2. what the next steps are with this email/project/train of thought,
  3. what we are waiting for,
  4. any other relevant notes to the project.

When someone makes this happen… can you let me know? Email footnotes would be extremely helpful!