Sunday, October 04, 2009

What Makes an Email Important?

In my last post, I said it would be good if email clients only notified you of important emails, rather than popping up a toast for each email that arrives. One of the commenters asked me to point to some research about this topic.

What makes an email important? In this Microsoft Research report [1], the authors have conducted surveys of email usage inside Microsoft. One of the questions they asked was "When is an email particularly important?". Here are the responses:


Note that 5 out of the 10 factors are directly related to who sent the email. (This would indicate that filtering or auto-classifying emails by sender could be very effective.)

I have a bunch of other interesting research results to point to when I have a little more time. If you've read anything interesting recently, please point me to it in the comments.

[1] Gina Danielle Venolia, Laura Dabbish, JJ Cadiz, and Anoop Gupta. Supporting email workflow. Technical report, Microsoft Research - Collaboration and Multimedia Group, September 2001.

If you find this interesting, you should also read HappyMail.

1 comment:

Space Cowboy said...

Thanks, Gabor!
I was actually planning on doing a plugin which does this for GMail - but, digging around the documentation for writing a GMail plugin looks almost non-existent.