Let’s think outside the box for a minute.

Ever forgot to reply to an important message because you had a big day? Or maybe you received a message that needed to take action but you forgot what you had to do about it? It happened to all of us.

This is because current email clients are just a box to receive, organize and send electronic mails. That’s it, but nowadays emails are a way of getting things done, collaborating and reminding about important events. This changes the whole deal quite a bit.

Actions

Most of the time, messages need you to make a certain action. A modern email client would give you the chance to toggle a reminder on a message, informing you on a regular basis that you need to do something about it.

To a certain extend that client could give you the ability of creating task lists related to this message. Nothing complex, just add an action to the email so next time you review that message you’ll know you need to fix a certain bug, review a new design or check a certain deal for a software.

Attachments

That’s another big issue with current clients. Attachments are secondary when they should be the feature of the message.

When a designer sends you a preview of your next website, you want to immediately see the document, not click through menus to finally get the file.

An important flaw is the way we look to these attachments. Couldn’t we be able to browse attachments like a file browser? Simply click on the contact to see the latest attachments sent by this person.

Every time I have to check back for a photoshop file in my archives, it’s like doing archeology. Between complex filters and thousands of insignificant messages, there’s currently no reliable way of searching for an old message. It’s mostly hit or miss.

Filters

Most of the popular email clients have filters and I don’t use them. Why? Simply because they’re hidden behind menus.

Filters need to be the primary way of browsing messages, not IMAP folders. Browse by contact, by date, by attachment type, mix these parameters as much as you want and you’ll get incredible filters that are smart and efficient.

Apple Mail smart filters are a very good start but they’re restrictive to a few rules. We need to be able to use a SQL-like advanced language to create filters, coming with a simple interface for basic queries. If you ever need something really dynamic and smart, you’d be able to use that language to generate very specific filters. (i.e. messages sent in the last month, containing attachments of PSD type, containing the keyword freelance)

New Clients

Sure there’s a few new email clients, I think they’re going in the wrong direction. I, personally and professionally, don’t need a Facebook integration or any social network integration at all. I understand that people likes that on a personal level but I think it’s unnecessary.

There are clients that are in the works that promises to deliver interesting features, but nothing really shines out. It’s always the same layout, the same features, it’s always the same without any progress towards increasing productivity.

We need a fast and lightweight piece of software that will help us get the job done, quickly find important messages and remind important events (related to certain messages).

That’s where the focus needs to be.