I've said it here many times: e-mail is unruly, inefficient and in desperate need of a major overhaul. And while I'm encouraged by what we're seeing out there in terms of new ideas and approaches, from Google Wave to the Xobni add-on for Outlook, none have really changed e-mail's inefficiencies. Instead, they're looking for ways to get around them.
The same can be said for FewClix, a product that debuts today as an app for Lotus Notes e-mail systems. It doesn't change e-mail itself but instead installs a layer over email to help make it more manageable. To do so, the product gives users the tools they need to isolate or prioritize e-mails, not just "browse" the inbox.
FewClix really hasn't done anything new here - but is has taken what others are trying to do and made them collectively better. Existing systems - whether web-based mail like Yahoo Mail or client-based systems like Outlook - all have some sort of search feature built in, as well as a filtering or "rules" section. Individually, those all tend to be sub-par, but together, they have the potential to change the way we interact daily with e-mail.
That's what FewClix is trying to do - bring the best of all of the tools together. And in some ways, it's done it really well.
SmartFilters, for example, provide users with the tools to narrow a search by certain parameters - who sent it, who else may have received it, whether it had an attachment and, if so, what type of attachment. The idea was to shrink the list of e-mails down to a more manageable number by refining. Yahoo, by contrast, has a nice refinement feature once you've conducted the initial search - but it could save a step or two to be able to refine as part of the search.
And because users can save their customized searches into a drop down menu in the toolbar, it's easy to start the day by only looking at e-mails that came from within the company or from specific clients or maybe just your newsletter subscriptions. The product was designed for the Enterprise, so it also allows users to decide whether to search locally or in the archives, or both.
FewClix is priced at $50 for individual buyers. IT departments are given a method of pricing that's based on a percentage of what they paid for the Lotus Notes client. Synaptris, the parent company, said an ROI calculator will be on its Web site in the next week or so.