Inbox: Calling it quits
I've forced myself to use Inbox since I got the invite some months ago, but now I've decided to give up, at least until the next major revision.
The interface is nice, snoozing and reminders are useful, but the overall experience makes me feel like I'm doing things slower than with GMail.
Even worse, it makes me feel that I'm at risk of losing some important message, hidden in the mess of bundles. With GMail, I've never felt like I was getting something out of sight and control.
Bundles are probably the main culprits. Ideally, they are a fantastic way to organize and keep mail sorted. In the real world, they tend to turn into bunches of messages, with no true logical coherence.
- for automatic bundles: Google's classification is far from perfect.
- for filter-based bundles: a filter can hardly catch the complexities of what fits into a bundle, and they end up creating bundles of the "just a bunch of messages" kind
- for human-managed bundles, the lack of "multi-bundling" (i.e., Gmail's multiple tags) can be limiting for same use cases
- the visual rendering of bundles can be terrible. See image below, where a parade of images taken from various signature should represent the content of the bundle!
A much better visualization for a bundle would be a three line "summary" of the first 3 conversations in that bundle. Wait! No graphics? So ugly? Yes, but far better than the attached image!!!
And then there are a lot of small but annoying things:
- no signatures
- the Trash is a click too far
- snoozing a message needs too many clicks
- the interface loses its charm quickly, and then one starts to think: do I really need ALL of these special effects and white space?
- the quest for the perfect iconic language, which includes icons which move and/or appear/disappear based on context (and even mouse position!!!), has led to a product which I still can't use blindfolded after months. Call me old, but I'm still on the nerd side: I can't even think of some of my friends, not so computer literate, using it.
So I call it quits for the time being. I still rate Inbox "Exciting", but being excited doesn't turn someone into being productive.
I'll wait, excitedly, for the next version, meanwhile... back to GMail.