Links for 2018-03-14

  • Interesting Twitter thread on email UI design, vs Slack

    “When redesigning Outlook, we found two basic groups of users: pilers and filers. Pilers kept a single, ever-expanding list of mail in their Inbox and then worked it down to “inbox zero.” Filers wrote rules or manually filed mail into folders, creating an organizational system. Filers rely on their bespoke, highly customized knowledge of where things go in their email system, much like you might organize your kitchen in a way that makes sense to you. You know where the strainer or little corn-cob-holders go, and no one else does (or needs to.) Pilers rely on search to find things in their huge amassed pile. We moved Outlook from the fundamental organization unit of “message” to “conversation” (or “thread”) so that when pilers found mail via search, messages would return with the context of the surrounding conversation. Both pilers and filers have one key thing in common: their systems require an affirmative, discrete action to take a mail out of their list. Filers file to a folder when done with a message, and pilers archive/delete. This turned out to be essential for people to feel in control.”
    really, “filers” (update:) “pilers” are using the UI that GMail pioneered, where credit is due (as far as I know at least).

    (tags: mail ux ui pilers-and-filers filepile email slack outlook)

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  1. Simon
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 17:28 | Permalink

    Surely that would be Pilers? But both patterns are much older. Filers, rules, filters and folders was the MH/Eudora way. Pilers were just people who’d never joined mailing lists.

  2. Craig
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 22:40 | Permalink

    I used to be a filer, long ago in Eudora/pine/elm days. That persisted for a good decade or so; for the last decade plus, since search has improved so dramatically, and in particular, indexing in has become usable, I’ve switched pretty much completely. I now have one “read” folder per year, grouped into decade folders, plus “current year read” and “inbox”.

  3. Posted March 16, 2018 at 16:31 | Permalink

    yeah, the “Piler” approach only really became viable with the UI improvements (conversations) and search that GMail brought into the picture, I think.

    also: Simon, yeah, I meant Pilers!