I’ve been using the new Google Inbox for a couple months now, and overall it’s been a huge improvement to my email workflow. It’s not a revolutionary new concept, but the way they bundle mails makes sorting through e-mails very efficient.
What’s key here is that I scan my Inbox very similarly to how I scan Discourse’s “New” tab.
- Every human-made message will be read in full and usually promptly responded to.
- “Forums” are usually quite interesting, as they’re usually notifications about conversations I’m in. I probably engage with 80% of these mails.
- “Updates” are hit & miss, but sometimes important notifs from GitHub and such. I engage with 60%
- “Social” is also so-so. I engage with 40%.
- “Promos” tend to be uninteresting. I engage with 10% at best. A very quick scan before I click-em away.
- “Feature” is my bread and butter. I engage with 80%
- “UX” similar to above. close to 80%
- “Extensibility” also similar. 70%
- “Support” usually doesn’t concern me. 15%
- “Bug” also usually doesn’t concern me. 15%
I don’t want to hide Support and Bug completely. Once in an odd while there’s a support question I can help answer, or there’s a bug that concerns me. But most of the time I want to scan through them very quickly and be done with it, like I can do with my Promos bundle in Inbox. But the way I scan New right now, my eyes are bouncing back and forth between the title and category on every new line.
Sort by Category
So here’s a crude mockup of what I’m suggesting. What you end up with is a new topics layout borrowing ideas from Google Inbox and Discourse’s own Categories view. (The no-tiger-stripes in Feature is just incidental, but I kinda like it).
Instead of prioritising strict chronology, you order first by category instead. Any category without any new topics in it would simply not show.