Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Searches not Folders

If you file your emails into folders in your email program you’re wasting your time, according to a study by IBM Research. The 345-user study found that people who used the search function in their email program could find relevant emails as easily as those who had categorised each email into folders.

The research found that those that searched found items faster than those that organized items into folders. Importantly, this did not include the time a user would spend organizing their folders - up to 20 minutes a day. The study also found that folder users treated the inbox as a to do list and folders gave those users a sense of task completion. Archive, archive, archive.

This is not so much a folders vs labels issue as how you use them. If you use Gmail's labels as a substitute for a folder then you will not get the efficiency of search.