10 May 16 Prioritizing the Gmail Meter web interface
Yesterday, we quietly released our new email report for Gmail Meter.
Pardon our lack of fanfare, but as you can see we decided to simplify the email report a bit. We narrowed it down to the four metrics that our users found most important, specifically sent and received emails, total number of Conversations, and response time. While this does limit the functionality of our email report, it was important for us to deliver an error-resilient product to our users as soon as possible.
As we’ve discussed a couple times in the past, the legacy Google Apps Script version of Gmail Meter will simply continue to fail. Beyond that, many new users attempting to sign up for the legacy version were reporting that they never received their report. For this reason alone, we knew that we had to deploy a working product sooner rather than later.
Shifting focus to a web interface for Gmail Meter
The decision to simplify the email report represents a major shift in our development direction for Gmail Meter. In our previous version of the tool, we focused on delivering an extensive email report to our users every month. For several reasons, we realized that we would ultimately be able to bring our users – yourself included – much more value by developing a robust web interface for Gmail Meter. With this decision, we have much more time and are able to dedicate ourselves to this new interface.
There are numerous reasons why we decided to proceed down this path. Through user feedback, we found that a number of our metrics were not providing the right insights. A few of these metrics will be removed outright and others we realized were just better suited for a web application.
While (or maybe because) we are big proponents of email, we understand just how limited email can be. Having only an email report means that a user is unable change any settings or customize the report at all.
This leads us to the primary reason for our development shift: emails are meant to be static. There are really no ways to interact or engage with an email-only analytics report, besides receiving it. This means that at the end of the day, without the ability for our end users to engage with and finesse their statistics, they were not receiving actionable metrics that allowed them to make improvements in their habits.
Features for the upcoming web interface
There are a number of possibilities that are open to us now that we are focusing on building the new Gmail Meter web interface. For example, one of the most common pieces of feedback we get is that the legacy script did not account for email aliases in data analysis. With a web interface, we will finally be able to allow end users to set email aliases to be analyzed. This is especially important for our users on business email accounts, who may manage several email addresses all from within the same Gmail account.
Similarly, we also understand the need to allow our users to exclude certain types of emails or email addresses from analysis. Many, if not all, of us receive a number of automatic email notifications that are not relevant to the data we intend to present. Custom date ranges for analysis and being able to compare against previous time periods are two additional features now possible after we build a web interface.
In short, although we did simplify our email report significantly, this is because we have been developing both the email report and a web interface concurrently. Our goals are rather ambitious, and there are a number of features that we will be working on once this new interface is released and ready for our users.
In the meantime, we are still planning for a closed beta testing period for the Gmail Meter web interface. If you’re interested in participating, please click to signup for beta access for our new Gmail Meter here.