Why is it so diff to build an email product? *Faints* :)
When it comes to software, in general, people can forgive a lot of things: some bugs in their X client, missing features in their CRM, not well polished interface in their invoicing tool etc… All software looks kinda cheap/tacky at 1st lol.
The problem with email is that we are ALL “email experts” since we ALL spend a lot of time sending, answering, managing them.
Here is a list of what users expect from day one in their email client:
high reliability: it has to work all the time. Downtimes are deal breakers in this space.
huge number of minimal core features: composer, attachment handling, tags, draft, archive, trash, conversation threading, contact management etc.
o is for onboarding: most people already have several mail clients (web, mobile or desktop based). If they don’t perceive the value of your product and how it works within 5 minutes they’ll just go back to their current solution and forget about you. Foreverrrrrr *insert dramatic laugh*
high security / confidentiality levels: people don’t care if their emails are used by Yahoo (they sell email) to push ads or if the NSA spies on them. However, they do care if a young startup is dealing with what they consider a really private part of their life.
Here is a list of what users expect from day two:
multi-platforms: from IMAP to Gmail, yahoo mail, mail.ru… people want to be able to connect each of these email providers all to their app.
multi-devices: people check their emails everywhere and on all their devices. From computer to phone or tablet.
customization: dealing with email is a very personal experience. Some people like to be well organized and to archive all their emails to keep it clean. Some other don’t care but are tags addicts. Your UX should enable them to naturally choose the experience they want.
From a technical point of view building a mail client is NOT EASY.
The consequence of these high expectations is that you need to have really strong Frontend and Backend skills to build this kind of product. Emails are still transmitted in a double decade-old format, that has been patched again and again to do new things.
You’ll need to master Base64, Quoted-Printable, UTF-8, MIME, Multipart etc. before attempting to display your first email. Then all the minimal core features we talked about have to work perfectly before you can start innovating.
Therefore building a MVP is long and complicated here, let alone a first STABLE version. And once you have this in place you need very talented people to take it to the next level. From a design (UX/UI) and a technical point of view.
Email is doable and profitable, but hard af. 😘😇 Search is the core outfit. Email is the must have accessory that brings the search outfit together. If that makes sense… :) YourName@TAYemail.com 💌
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