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Email Load - Potential GF Add-on?

  1. Matt Mullenweg has written the following blog post, Email Load http://ma.tt/2010/09/email-load/ :

    I added a new feature to the contact page that shows you how high (or low) my email queues are, which update once a minute. If the levels are lower, it probably means I’ll get back to your sooner.

    You can see it in action on his contact page:

    http://ma.tt/contact/

    This idea has the potential to be a good add-on for GF, particularly if it more effectively conveyed the basic idea - that you are busy and might not be able to reply promptly - by rendering the numbers as a chart, using colors to denote how overheated each section is.

    I particularly like the fact that it indicates priority but I wonder if using the phrase "Low priority" might seem dismissive to someone who is anxious about whether or not you will reply to them. Might be better to number High Priority or Urgent emails, then Everything Else.

    Matt's version pulls the numbers from his email server but, as a GF add-on, it would have truly mass appeal if it could pull the same sort of info from a specified GMail or Google Apps account. It would be particularly good if it could hook into Google's superb new Priority Inbox feature.

    Posted 11 years ago on Friday October 1, 2010 | Permalink
  2. Interesting idea although I don't know how we could tie into GMail or a Google Apps account as it would limit it's appeal to only users that use Gmail or Google Apps. We could certainly show the total number of entries and the total number of unread entries for all forms or on a per form basis as that is data the plugin has easy access to.

    Matt handles his email via a custom WordPress plugin that he wrote. He hosts his own IMAP email server, and his WordPress plugin processes that email and prioritizes things for him based on rules he has created. So he hosts his own email server which gives him greater access to the data to do something like that.

    Posted 11 years ago on Friday October 1, 2010 | Permalink
  3. I suspect, but don't have any hard numbers, that most people technical enough to deploy contact forms would tend to use Gmail/Google Apps rather than any other webmail service and certainly more use webmail these days than run their own IMAP servers. My impression that Gmail is the most popular is simply based upon the fact that I see a lot of Gmail addresses being used within the WordPress world and, anecdotally, most people with own-domain email addresses tend to use Google Apps.

    Gmail/Google Apps must have an API that allows details such as Inbox counts to be fetched because there are so many Firefox and Chrome extensions that do that. Obviously, the contact form owner would need to provide both his Google username and password for such requests. It is also possible that other popular webmail services, such as Yahoo, have similar functionality, allowing the audience for such an add-on to be extended, but, as I say, I suspect that Gmail/Google Apps would be a sizeable majority anyway.

    Contact forms are such a basic things, GF does so much more, but a contact form is probably it's most frequent use, particularly among new customers; being able to add such clever functionality would certainly enhance the initial impression that GF makes upon them.

    Posted 11 years ago on Friday October 1, 2010 | Permalink
  4. Just a couple of other small ideas that I think would tie nicely into such an add-on:

    1. Indicate the current time in the contact form owner's location, so that folks in say, Australia, are reminded that it is 4AM in the website owner's timezone and that, therefore, an immediate reply is understandably unlikely. Could be set to only appear if the visitor's IP location is in a timezone more than, say, 3hrs different than the form owner's.

    2. Current average reply time i.e. how long, on average, is it currently taking for emails sent via this form to be replied to. Yeah, I know, probably impossible, but would be impressive, almost ticket-system type functionality.

    Posted 11 years ago on Friday October 1, 2010 | Permalink