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IBM Study Finds Filing Your Email into Folders is Unproductive…

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You have to love these kinds of studies. The latest coming out of IBM Research is a 345 user study into how productive it is to file your emails into folders. According to their filings findings it took users an average of 17 seconds to find an email via searching compared to 58 seconds to find an email by folder. Filing emails also did not make the success of finding the intended email any more successful. They claim that users are spending 20+ minutes a day filing emails in a pointless exercise.

They also delve into labels and conversation threads like you find in Gmail. According to the study users resisted tagging emails though did not delve further into it. On the other hand they found that conversation threading (a sweet feature that RIM added in BlackBerry OS 6.0) is essentially a form of custom search that makes it easier to find emails. IBM Research seems to be all for conversation threading though they want Superthreading which groups multiple conversations together under a topic or project.

Check out the full details at BoxFreeIt or a great conversation going on at SlashDot

11 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I forgot IBM was even a company lol. The same company that sucked at lotus domino… How ironic is this study.

  2. Hmm, I seem to have posted a blank message that wasn’t blank… Ah, well. Here’s what I meant to say:

    “IBM Research seems to be all for conversation threading though they want Superthreading which groups multiple conversations together under a topic or project”

    I can picture that, it would be awesome! We could make a higher-level container and put the related messages into that container – thus grouping everything related together. I think it’s kind of analogous to how you’ll put related documents in a folder in your filing cabinet.

    Hey, wait a minute…

  3. I never file my email, so good. I never delete it either (except obvious advertising) email search on my berry and my desktop is great so why bother to file.

  4. I’m going to be the oddball that argues filing is helpful. I use Outlook 2010 with Conversation View. If I dont file, I end up with conversations that include emails from multiple parties for unrelated matters. I also have a 2GB mailbox, so searches can get a bit sluggish from OWA or my handheld (when choosing to do a Remote search). If I specify what folder to search in, it saves me a lot of time.

    To each their own, but I like my filing system. :-p

  5. I really like this attribute:

    ‘On the other hand they found that conversation threading (a sweet feature that RIM added in BlackBerry OS 6.0) is essentially a form of custom search that makes it easier to find emails. ‘

  6. [ SOS ] Complaint with Human Rights Violations by IBM China on Centennial

    Please Google:

    Tragedy of Labor Rights Repression in IBM China
    or
    How Much IBM Can Get Away with is the Responsibility of the Media
    or
    IBM detained mother of ex-employee on the day of centennial

  7. Filing and finding emails doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated, this is the exact reason we came up with eFiler. It is fast to file and find emails all from within Outlook.

  8. If they use Lotus Notes, your productivity is already 70% down on others. That product is pathetic.

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