Aug. 31st, 2011

yeloson: (Default)
My friend Jono had a point awhile back that he wished cars had more ways of communicating to other drivers than just the horn/turn signal combo - stuff like, "Please go ahead, I'll let you in the lane", and such.

One thing I've noticed about email, is that when you have to email a bunch of people, it's almost guaranteed that the important info will also get crowded under non-important or poll responses to that info.

It'd be pretty neat to have something, like say a Gmail conversation, which had a button that takes you to a list of everyone emailed in this. And those people could change their "status" for this conversation and you'd see those statuses as colored dots next to their name:

Grey - "I haven't picked a status yet. I may not have even looked at the email."
Green - "I'm good with what has been decided/whatever you decide."
Yellow - "I'm waiting to hear more info/see where this is going/I need to go get some more info before I can respond."
Red - "I'm out of this conversation. I will not receive any more emails on this."

This does two things:

1. You don't have to clutter your inbox with these kinds of responses
2. It fills the "effort gap" below writing a full email- it means you have something better than silence, but not quite requiring real typing.

Obviously, the big problem for this kind of system is that it has to work with classic email in some fashion, and still requires people to do some minimal clicking. There's always going to be people who never read the email and slow the whole process, but generally I figure the easier you make things, the easier it can go for groups.

Of course, maybe stuff like Evite and similar "Yes/No/Maybe" RSVPs are the best way to go, though I could see projects and work using this system for much better results.

ETA:

Probably the easiest way to do this would be to incorporate it into something existing like Gmail or an email client like Thunderbird, with special links auto-generated as headers in each email for the folks who aren't on the tech to just click to respond or see the responses thus far.

Another issue is that this also doesn't track history like general email does, so it's not as useful if you need to track a history of agreement/delays like with classic email. That said, though, I've found that those trails rarely get acted upon anyway, when you have those problems.

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yeloson

November 2012

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