Triage

Triage is a new take on email.

What it does

Instead of the traditional list-view, which displays a subset of your inbox organized by time, type, or sender, Triage shows you only a single email. You cannot proceed to another email until you have "processed" (discard, archive, convert to task) the one in front of you.

This workflow has several benefits:

  1. It prevents your Inbox from becoming your task list
  2. It forces you to be explicit about the value of every email that you process, which helps the system understand what's valuable to you
  3. Over time, the system will prioritize displaying the most valuable emails for you

Instructions

  1. Sign into the tool using a Google ID by clicking on the Sign In button on the top-right
  2. Add as many email accounts as you'd like by clicking on the "+ Add" button on the top-right
  3. For each email:
    • Use the left arrow on your keyboard to discard the email (you didn't find the email useful)
    • Use the right arrow on your keyboard to archive the email (you did find it useful but there is no action to take)
    • Use shift+up on your keyboard to convert that email thread into a task (there is an action to take as a result of the email)

Inspiration

While working in the corporate world, I got to a point at which email was really affecting my ability to effective. Emails were pouring in faster than I could keep up with it. I had several realizations:

  1. Email isn't going anywhere (despite the efforts of Slack and other start-ups)
  2. More communication is being converted to email (task management systems, trouble ticketing systems, etc.)
  3. Despite recent advancements in email prioritization, the unstructured nature of email processing makes it difficult to predict which emails will be important to users. Some emails become important phone conversations. Some result in action in my web browser. Some emails are very informative but result in no action at all. Some are spam. The current way of processing email makes it impossible distinguish each of those categories of email.

For the past few years, I've been formulating several ways to improve email and re-think the traditional, unstructured list-view. This is just one of those ideas.

How I built it

Quickly :) [Node.js backend and I tried out Polymer Web Components on the front-end]

What's next for Triage

Having only found out about the DevPost Hackathon a few days ago, I didn't have enough time to get to the following:

  1. ContextIO Webhook implementation for up-to-date email details
  2. Natural Language Processing integration for understanding the content of email (to help prioritization)
  3. Email prioritization (tying explicit user actions and email language analysis)
  4. Better task-management (incorporating originating email into the task)
  5. Search
  6. Cosmetic improvements to the email thread display (more information)
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