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Study: Organizing Emails in Folders is a Hopeless, Sisyphean Task

A recent study carried out by IBM has determined that users who use a complex folder system to organize their email do not find messages faster than users who rely on search functions. The study compared the time it took to locate a specific email when using folder trees versus simply typing in a search query. They found that it took users 58 seconds to find an email without search, and 17 seconds to find it with search. Moreover, users who searched were far more likely to actually find the desired email. In other news, sky blue, water wet; film at 11.

In any discussion of search in email, Gmail is the king of the hill because of its close integration of Google search. However, some other aspects of Gmail received specific praise from the study, such as conversation threading — where back and forth email exchanges are grouped together. Strangely, the study endorsed “superthreading,” where emails of a similar topic or project are organized together. Which to me, sounds like folders, but maybe I’m missing something.

(Box Free IT via Slashdot, image via Alexandre Duret-Lutz)

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