Mindsense introduced their first third party email client called Mail Pilot into the IOS space earlier this year. It is based on some of the new thinking for mail handling that you see coming out of IOS.
Their IOS client was definitely considered unique and most certainly had the potential to assist with one’s processing of mail. However, it wasn’t that well received as it had both operational and design flaws. From an operational perspective, it launched with a lot of bugs. From a design perspective things such as windows to write in were oddly conceived. As an example, a reply to an email didn’t give you that large of a palette to write on that people expect but rather this little text message like box to write your reply. It was bizarre to say the least.
The Goal: In Box Zero
The new IOS email clients, including Mail Pilot, all seemed to have this almost obsessional disorder with in-box zero. If you could get your inbox to inbox zero, as in the case of the Gmail client an example, you were greeted with a big smile. There seemed almost this complete lack of concern with the person you were responding to at the other end. In fact, you had to wonder was anybody being responded to.
Dispatch, another of the new breed of email clients, typified this obsessional view. They described their client as taking this aggressive approach to reach inbox zero. The reality is anybody can take any inbox and get it quickly to inbox zero. I call it the effective use of the delete key. Or, where did I put that garbage pale.
Mail Pilot’s Approach
Mail Pilot has the same philosophy guided by their view that all mail is a todo item. So far, so good. As such, any email that comes into the system is considered incomplete and requires some kind of action. Again, this is an interesting schema and actually quite workable.
Where Mail Pilot failed in the IOS space is they put themselves into the same pack all lot the other IOS email clients were in. The only thing that seemed to matter was that you get to inbox zero. When they introduced a client that was buggy and did not work for a lot of things, does that matter if all you’re trying to do is get to inbox zero. The package worked exceedingly well at allowing you to tick things off as done but really what was done. Not much as you couldn’t get around the bugs.
The OSX Client is a Jewel
I’ve worked on the private beta of Mail Pilot which just converted to public beta status last week. This means anyone can get their hands on a copy now.
The OSX client was rethought from the ground up and it shows. This package works wonderfully and is fantastic to work with. The layout has been completely redone. Now you’re working in large windows that lend themselves well to the reading and writing of content.
In its current state on OSX the product Mail Pilot is now usable. As a usable product you can test the theory that mail is a todo item which comes along in an incomplete state to be actioned in some fashion or another. The idea is still to get to inbox zero but in an efficient and effective way. Mail Pilot lives up to it’s billing.
Mail as a Todo Item to be Actioned
People are overwhelmed by email today. In fact, people are overwhelmed by a lot digital stuff at the moment. If there is something to improve the way email is handled that can only be seen as positive thing.
Mindsense is taking a fresh approach to email and it is an approach that works. Now that the OSX client works it can be seen that Mail Pilot’s approach to handling email does substantially improve the process.
Mail comes into the system as an incomplete todo item. It might be something you can action right away and if so do it and then mark it done. If you’re not ready to action mail you might just want to set it aside for actioning later. Mail Pilot allows you to create lists in which you can do this. Lists serve another role. You can combine disparate pieces of mail together into one spot to be analyzed synergistically. This again ratchets up your effectiveness in handling mail. Finally, you can set reminders on mail to come back at a better time to be dealt with.
An Effective, Clean and Novel Approach to the Handling of Mail
The OSX version of Mail Pilot really is a jewel to work with. Of course the pre-release version is still considered beta software and there are some bugs that are still being worked through. However, considering this is beta software it is fully functional and useful as is. You can get your copy of the public beta here.
It is fully planned that the IOS copies of Mail Pilot are to be released as an update that will incorporate a lot of the design principles seen in the OSX package. The benefit of this third party email application will be very much in that it will run on both IOS and OSX something currently only Apple’s mail does. However, this will create a consistent working environment across platforms something which everyone wants.