Emailer—a "Tinder for Email" Experiment

The Tinder UI has received high praise recently. A number of startups have even released products that intentionally mimic it. Among them are Buffer's Tinder for content, Jelly's Tinder for Q&A, and Bark Buddy's Tinder for dog adoption. Check out Product Hunt for a bunch of others. You'll notice that some of these are silly, some are attacking a small market, and some seem like they're just not a good fit for the Tinder UI. 

So last week I was thinking of use cases that might be great for the Tinder UI. One that came to mind was email. I wanted to experiment with the idea so I created some mockups with Sketch 3 (which I've been wanting to test out, so this was a great excuse).

Here's what I created: 

  Swipe. Swipe left to Archive, right to Favorite, or down to Mark as Read. Customize. But these could be customized to accommodate for labeling, marking as important, etc.  Progress Bar. A progress bar at the top shows you how many unread and read emails are left in your inbox. 

 

Swipe. Swipe left to Archive, right to Favorite, or down to Mark as Read.

Customize. But these could be customized to accommodate for labeling, marking as important, etc. 

Progress Bar. A progress bar at the top shows you how many unread and read emails are left in your inbox. 

  Reply. Hit Reply to reply to an email. Quick Reply. Or hit Quick Reply to see a list of your pre-inputted template responses that you can send without typing a thing.

 

Reply. Hit Reply to reply to an email.

Quick Reply. Or hit Quick Reply to see a list of your pre-inputted template responses that you can send without typing a thing.

  Swipe. View your emails in the traditional list view, but you can still swipe left, right and down to take action on it. Customize. Excerpt lengths can be customizable (1 lines, 2 lines, etc.), as can whether avatars appear.

 

Swipe. View your emails in the traditional list view, but you can still swipe left, right and down to take action on it.

Customize. Excerpt lengths can be customizable (1 lines, 2 lines, etc.), as can whether avatars appear.

  Inbox Zero! Nice Easter Egg if you hit Inbox Zero, which invites users to tweet about it.

 

Inbox Zero! Nice Easter Egg if you hit Inbox Zero, which invites users to tweet about it.

(A little rough around the edges, but you get the idea.)

I really like the results, and the exercise helped solidify my thinking that email is a good use case for the Tinder UI. Plus, there's helpful/fun features like Quick Reply, avatars, the progress Bar, and the Inbox Zero Easter egg. Together, I think that the product can help people—especially those that get a lot of email—get through their inbox faster. 

Of course, there's Mailbox, which introduced swiping and other smart features that are good for a mobile mail app. But I kind of prefer the stripped down, Tinder-inspired UI that I created.

Plus, this great Medium post by Janel Torkington helped put some smart theory behind the argument that email is a good fit for the Tinder UI. Specifically, Janel writes that Tinder's card UI is great for churning through large data feeds (which your inbox kind of is) because:

1. Cognitively, you can only evaluate one option at a time. Seeing all the options laid out in front of you at once is just noisy and distracting, since you’ll have to consider each one in turn anyway. 2. Making swipe-happy snap judgements allows you to make better choices, faster. . . . 3. You can do it one handed. That last point is more important than you think. . . . Mobile devices are frequently used on-the-go, which drastically increases the probability that you’ll attempt to navigate apps using just one hand, with the key digit being the mighty thumb.

What do you think? Would you use Emailer?