After some recent updates to [Sparrow][sparrow] have greatly improved the speed issues I encountered (read my [Sparrow review][sparrowreview]) I’ve been giving it a shot again and have realized that I hate having a unified inbox.

It’s not so much the reading process of a unified inbox that I dislike. It’s nice to be able to quickly zip through all of your incoming mail and sort it. It’s nice to not have to switch inboxes to see all of your email. What I hate is the writing process of the email.

With a unified inbox whatever your ‘default’ email account is will be placed in the ‘from’ address when sending a new email. Sure this makes sense but I have 5 emails (way too many I know) and I don’t want some people corresponding with some accounts. I don’t really want my business clients to have my personal email address.

Having a unified inbox while sending email increases the cognitive burden of email. Now I not only have to think about my reply I have to remember to make sure it’s coming from the proper email address. I have to take my fingers off the keyboard get my mouse and select the proper email account. Moving your fingers off the keyboard is slow if you’re typing 90% of the time like me.

Three times in a week I’ve sent an email to a client from an account I really shouldn’t have. No the world won’t blow up but it looks less professional. Because of the increase in cognitive burden that comes with sending email from a unified inbox I hate having one. I truly don’t understand why people love having a unified inbox, just means I have more work to do over a medium I don’t really like.

Can anyone tell my why you love a unified inbox? At this point I’ve turned it off in Sparrow.

[sparrow]: “Sparrow Mail”
[sparrowreview]: “Reviewing Sparrow Mail”

2 responses to “Unified Inbox Sucks”

  1. Jimmy Avatar

    Have you tried instead? Looks like a more thought through version if anybody wanted a unified inbox in the first place.

    1. curtismchale Avatar

      Yeah that’s kinda interesting but really I think it just makes the issues I have with unified inbox worse. Since writing this I’ve decided that unified inbox isn’t not only because it increases your cognitive burden when sending emails but also breaks up your workflow.

      Like many I have email for personal, my own business, and the business I’m on contract for. I don’t want to see messages from each mingled. Same with Facebook and Twitter with email. They all require different interaction paradigms, which requires a change in thoughts and process. Trying to put them all together seems like a great idea but in reality I think it increases the amount of switching we have to do as we try to deal with the information overload. Increasing the switches just means we feel more rushed, and that’s never a good thing.

      So ultimately cool but I’m not interested.