The pioneering concept takes best-practice ideas from features like Google Now (e.g. swiping ‘card’ style layouts) and inspiration from Eric Schmidt’s rule of ‘be responsive’ for email – that is to say, respond to emails quickly and set yourself reminders. Inbox is currently competing with the likes iOS app Mailbox – owned by Dropbox – and is constantly looking to improve upon its ease of use. Here are a few key features worth noting:
Grouping / Bundles
There are several key features of Inbox, making it a highly desirable app for Gmail users. All emails are bundled by date and grouped into the following categories: purchases, finance, social, updates, forums, promos. Because of this feature, brand promotions will likely fall into the ‘Promo’ bundle, making email marketing much harder for brands.
Bundles float freely in a user’s Inbox, which is an improvement on the way Gmail groups emails into tabs as it is very easy for users to ignore tabs. In Gmail, promo emails aren’t immediately obvious in the main inbox screen because the user first needs to open the group tab. Whereas, in Inbox, the level of prominence given to promotions depends on how the recipient has interacted with the promo previously. For example, if they weren’t engaged before, promotions will be de-prioritised; if they were engaged, bundled promos will be nice and prominent
Inbox now shows users the most important info available (e.g. flight status, purchase confirmations, attachments) at a glance by creating preview cards that contain the pertinent information. On account of this Highlights feature, users can see and cycle through images/video without even opening an email. Inbox also allows flexibility for the user as it enables them to create their own highlights by ‘pinning’ an email.
Snoozing & reminders
Inbox has created a snoozing feature, helping to prioritise messages, In addition to snoozing, users can set reminders for themselves. This can prompt them to respond to emails that they have otherwise put off. What’s more, users can set location-dependent reminders (only triggered when they reach a certain proximity).
Google have completely focused on the mobile experience, acknowledging that this is the main place that users view and respond to their emails. Users can swipe to snooze, archive or delete emails within Inbox but unlike Gmail, all replies are handle in a single screen which can definitely be seen as a big improvement for the user.