You may have noticed the feeding frenzy on Twitter last week as over 500,000 users jumped on the bandwagon to download Mailbox for iPhone, a new take on email and productivity using Gmail’s platform.
When I got in line early on Friday morning there were nearly 7,000 people queued up ahead of me. For those of you still anxiously awaiting your turn to experience the awesomeness of Mailbox let me assure you, it is worth the wait.
For starters many people are frustrated with the reservation rollout Mailbox used for deployment. I confess to being a little annoyed, but the folks at Mailbox had a valid reason for this tiered approach.
From the Mailbox website:
We’ve designed the Mailbox service to scale indefinitely, and have done as much load testing as we can. But we don’t know what we don’t know, so we’re using reservations to add people gradually.
Mailbox goes on to promise that as the service grows the rate of adding new users should increase. Contrast this strategy with the recent abysmal launch of Wunderlist 2 that was plagued by server outages, bugs and app failure. Once you reach the front of the reservation line Mailbox aims to make your experience smooth, seamless and successful. This is a bit of a larger scale application of the “measure twice, cut once” axiom and makes for a more effective user first impression.
Upon opening Mailbox for the first time the user is greeted with a welcome message and prompted to log into their Gmail account to authorize the app to access the appropriate information. Once this step is complete a brief interactive tutorial introduces the user to Mailbox’s functionality and gestures. I found this process both efficient and informative as seasoned iPhone and Gmail user.
The genius of Mailbox lies in its simplicity and fresh approach to GTD (get things done) methodology. Like a double-edged sword Mailbox equips the user to create an email strategy that eliminates distraction and increases productivity.
The inbox is where messages first land and Mailbox guides the user reach “zero inbox” by taking immediate action to reply, archive or postpone a message to address it later.
Too often email is distracting because we compulsively check it for to-do items, but fail to take action. The “Later” feature of Mailbox is by far my favorite. Marking an item for “Later” lets the user specify from 7 options (or a custom date) when the message will return to the inbox for action.
- Later Today
- This Evening
- This Weekend
- Next Week
- In a Month
By scheduling an email for “Later” Mailbox effectively frees up space and the user’s mental capacity to decrease the distraction of a full inbox. Also, the time settings for the 7 options above can be customized.
Whether you’re a seasoned GTD ninja or daily drown in a deluge of email I think you will find Mailbox a breath of fresh air.