This is the first blog post in a series that highlights lessons we learnt from interviewing customers before and after launching Email Tags recently.
This lesson took us by surprise!
We’ve always focused our products (and related websites) on helping customers file their emails better. But when we spoke to customers, it was clear that there was a shift away from filing emails to searching for emails.
Filing emails was the old way of making them findable. The new way for most users is Outlook Search.
This was true even for Outlook users who had good filing systems in place already.
Nobody wanted to go into folders and look through emails manually. Instead they were using Outlook’s built in Search tools to help locate emails quickly.
Users of Outlook Search however identified the following 3 problems:
- Search sometimes returns too few emails i.e. important emails may not be found if they don’t have the necessary keywords in them.
- Search sometimes returns too many emails… there may be other emails with the same keywords too.
- Unless you have your emails filed in separate folders, it is difficult to see a group of RELATED emails easily
Filing emails in folders could be a solution for some but for most people it no longer is an effective solution. It takes too much effort to maintain a folder based email filing finding system.
We created Email Tags for Outlook as a solution that builds on Outlook Search and provides all the benefits of folders and search.
We launched it and then interviewed users and found out… that you liked it… BUT… YOU HAD FANTASTIC IDEAS TO MAKE OUTLOOK THE IDEAL EMAIL FINDING TOOL!
We’re working on your ideas and will release something next week.
In the meantime you may want to look at the following links:
Fixing Search Problems In Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010
Make Outlook 2007/2010 search all folders instead of just the current folder
Search Additional Outlook data files (PSTs, OSTs) in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010
4 Replies to “OUTLOOK USERS WANT HELP FINDING EMAILS… NOT FILING EMAILS”
Sorry, accidentally hit the enter button before my message was finished, so here I go again.
Our 3-person team uses the majority of the Standds (previously Addins4Outlook) utilities, among which QuickFile, InsertText and SendGuard have become INDISPENSABLE. The combination of using QuickFile and SendGuard (and spell checking) makes for multiple yes/ok clicks for each outgoing email, but the benefits outweigh the extra effort!
I have not gone into purchasing Email Tags for Outlook because for me proper (and easy) filing is more important than having extra tags for finding.
One reason is that we organise incoming and outgoing emails for a project in a single project folder and we want to make sure we have everything related to a single project in one location. All we need to do is that for each new project we agree on the folder name we will all three use and we can easily go and find emails in another team member’s Outlook if needed (illness, vacation). Substituting folder filing by only using tags would make that much more complicated because the folder structure is permanently there to see, right before your eyes.
Second, when a project is finished, the entire folder can be moved into a different PST file with the finished projects for that year, reducing the weight of the main PST file (and that of the hourly backups).
Many of our email correspondents are involved in more than one project (we organise events). QiuickFile makes it easy not only to file incoming and outgoing emails once a correspondent has already been registered in the QuickFile setting, it also allows you to immediately see that a correspondent was already involved in a previous project as soon as you want to send him/her an email on a new project.
I hope that Email Tags for Outlook is not an attempt to phase out and abandon QuickFile. Why is Email Tags on a totally different website that does not even have a clear link to or mention of Standss’ other applications, except if one takes the trouble of clicking on About Us at the very bottom of the opening page of the Email Tags website? And on the regular Standss site there is no sign of Email Tags. Does it mean they do not play well together or you think they should not be used together?
What might be good is the ability of adding tags WITHIN QuickFile to add some sort of category in addition of the filing system. The combination of QuickFile with the Outlook search features makes for a very powerful search function already. Personally I would have wished that the resources gone into creating Email Tags had gone into further improvements of QuickFile.
I hope to see lots of further development for your existing utilities.
I’m sure you’ve already thought about this.
Increasingly among our clients (mostly law firms), email is being handled on handhelds (iDevices, Android, etc…). The problem they are encountering is that regardless of what Outlook filing system they use in the office, mail transacted on the handhelds remain in the inbox or sent items and have to be dealt with (filed / tagged) after the fact in the office.
Duplicative, time-consuming and, as a result, frequently falls by the wayside.
@Butch, we are not British, we are based in Fiji and are Indian by race.