This is the time for my monthly review of a tool or a service that came through for me, and that I can recommend without scruples. Today, I want to talk to you a little about Filtr, an email agent which makes my life a lot easier.
The issue is this: we all get a ton of emails every day. If you’re anything like me, you check them immediately, an action which naturally distracts from your real work. One minute you’re knee-deep in an urgent report, and the next you’re dreaming about your friends’ dreamy vacation proposal in Greece. One minute you’re writing a 600-word article due this afternoon, and the next you’re tempted to buy those ASOS shoes for 30% off.
The folks at Filtr know this, and they help you solve it: you decide which emails you wish to get immediately, and which you’d like to postpone for the end of the workday, the weekend, or never. Filtr is a user-friendly app which lets you filter your emails according to the sender’s address. In this way, you can get work emails during work, shopping emails at the end of the day, and “vacations” emails at the weekend. Since I’ve started using the service, it saved me hours of valuable time. I asked Enael Garrido from Filtr to answer a few questions
How did you get your idea or concept for the app?
We all know e-mail is a broken ecosystem, constantly pulling for attention and getting in the way of productivity. Everyone on the team realized that there was an opportunity to flip the model on its head, by choosing priorities for the different types of e-mails we get throughout the day. However, there is not one right solution, since people use e-mail for many different purposes and thus the “ideal” solution might look different from one user to the other. Our current solution, which we decided to call Filtr, allows users to choose -with one tap- when they want to receive e-mails from different senders. For instance, you might want an e-mail from your boss to be received “immediately”, while another from your brother might be less urgent and thus you can tell Filtr to send it by “end of day”.
What was your mission at the outset?
The mission has stayed the same: to fix how e-mail works by helping users decide when they get the messages from their different contacts. This is important because we want people to be able to concentrate on getting things done, things that are important to them.
What services do you offer?
We are working on an ecosystem of solutions related to e-mail specifically and in general to improve productivity, for both smartphone and computer users. Currently we only have the Filtr app which is not a full-fledge e-mail client but rather a smart engine that helps users sort their contacts they get e-mail from into different categories. Once categories have been assigned, Filtr triages e-mails and allows users to concentrate on their most important tasks.
What is unique about your services?
We haven’t seen any other service that triages e-mails per se, there are some partial solutions out there that help you create rules to send certain e-mails to folders, but that’s it. Also, we are working on an algorithm so the app learns from your habits and recommends rules for both new and existing contacts.
What are your plans for future development of the service?
As mentioned previously, we understand Filtr is only one piece of the puzzle, a very important one, but there are further services that could leverage the filtering engine and the rules created by our users. At the moment we are working on other solutions, which will be available to iOS users very soon, so we will keep you guys posted!
Who is your ideal customer?
Someone who uses e-mail heavily as a communication tool, but also appreciates productivity. As e-mail becomes part of their everyday life, we understand that we need to draw back those lines into the sand that are now blurred between personal and professional boundaries, hyper-connectivity has become a double-edged sword.
What are the feedbacks you get from customers?
We love feedback from them because they are very passionate about the subject. We get a wide range of topics: from User Experience and User Interface, to different functionalities that would enable them to be more productive. The insight we have derived so far is that there is definitely opportunity in the way e-mail is being managed and that it will be difficult to provide a “cookie cutter” solution to everyone. In the end, we will need to balance between a robust solution that tackles the biggest issues our users encounter, and a service that can be customized to meet specific needs.