Skip to content
Emulating HEY's features
Share
Explore

Emulating HEY's features

Is it worth the trouble?
Reading about it inspired me to join the conversation by sharing this page.
Note that Andrew’s article is a better introduction to the subject at hand.

Objectives

While trying out
in June, I built this page
to evaluate
:

How does HEY compare to my Gmail +
workflow?
How could I emulate each of HEY’s
with/out SaneBox?
Also, I wrote this here to try
some more. (Here’s a
if you want.)

In bold is my main focus.

Feelings

Now that I’ve been using HEY for 1 month, here’s how I feel about it:

HEY is worth trying out more intensely in the next months.
My Gmail account is set to forward all emails to HEY.
When I’m sure I want to switch, I’ll start a real migration, updating sender by sender.
Otherwise, I’ll start trying out
to replace Gmail.

HEY makes me feel even calmer
in my email account than SaneBox does.
HEY’s
explains why I feel better about it.

About SaneBox, what’s so great for me is how it automatically configures mail filtering.
I taught SaneBox to show me some emails on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
This works if I discipline myself to not look at them until the appointed time. My clients show a number of new emails beside their folders...
By the way, I miss the deceased Google Inbox. It did this better than both HEY and SaneBox do.

Coming back to SaneBox and HEY: my setup is stretching SaneBox’s limits and some of HEY’s strong points make for a much calmer product.

HEY is much simpler to configure and costs less
than IMAP-compatible products.
Yes, HEY is far from being free, but compare it to the following...
+ SaneBox + Great email apps on each platform + A utility for dealing easily with big attachments, if needed.

HEY locks me into their non-IMAP compatible client, “for life”.
I’m still very much on the fence about this
.
On the one hand I hope HEY’s going to invest significantly in its client apps over time.
On the other hand, we might be surprised how our IMAP clients will eventually follow the wHEY and emulate many of HEY’s features. This was and still is looking like a compelling future.

HEY makes me feel like its mission is more important than most of the other products.
That is, I feel compelled to participate in HEY’s mission.
I know they’re doing us all a service, even for those of us who are not their clients.
They’re showing the world a new way.
Plus, HEY might continue innovating at a pace difficult to follow by IMAP-wrangling solutions.

So after one month, I’m still ambivalent, and I have some undisclosed reasons too.
Still, I’m going to continue following and using HEY for now.

Warnings

⚠️ Before proceeding to my evaluation, a few warnings are in order:

These are my personal notes.
I publish them as is, without spending efforts to make them easier to digest for the public.
Who knows, you might find them sufficiently readable to help you plan your evaluation.
I didn’t evaluate other criteria that might be important.
For example, I truly hope HEY will soon have a first-class integration with
.
In the next months, I might even decide this criteria is too important to sacrifice.
I didn’t test my emulation strategy to see if it’s really workable.
I’m pretty sure my strategies will work with some adaptation, and I’m also pretty sure you’ll be crumbling under the configuration of hundreds of email rules if you’re not a SaneBox subscriber (which costs the same price as HEY). 🤣

Feedback

Note also that you should be able to
leave comments
on this page and
copy and edit your own version of this document in your own Coda account
. If you come up with a different compelling strategy, I’d like it if you shared back a link. I could then link to your variant from here.

Update
: it might be that you can’t leave comments on this page... You can contact me as
, or email
. I should be able to update this page to add your feedback (unless this becomes a part-time job, obviously!)

Evaluation

Finally, here is my initial evaluation.

HEY's advertised features
2
Feature
HEY only?
Emulable?
Will I depend on it?
Note
Marketing
IMAP-able?
1
The Screener
AddictiveYES
Unexpected, brilliant!
Replaces my SaneBox usage.
Requires state sync
2
Rename Subjects
Addictive
Used it a few times and like it. Might use it again.
Requires state sync
3
The Imbox
AddictiveYES
It really, and easily, works at reducing noise!
Yes, in a folder
4
All Files
I rarely think of using this kind of feature.
Requires some index
5
Notifications
AddictiveYES
Calm by default. Per contact
or thread
.
Requires state sync
6
Reply Later
AddictiveYES
Stack visible in Imbox. Unexpected, brilliant!
Yes, in a folder
7
Set Aside
AddictiveYES
Stack visible in Imbox. Need easier ways to note why I set them aside?
Yes, in a folder
8
Spy Pixel Blocker
AddictiveYES
Better than Gmail’s proxy & others’ hide images.
No
9
Merge Threads
Addictive
Used it a few times and like it. Might use it again.
Requires state sync
10
Read Together
Addictive
Need to be able to act on each email?
Yes, in the client
11
Reply Mode
Addictive
Brilliant. But I write very thoughtfully focused.
Yes, in the client
12
Bundles
AddictiveYES
How I miss this from Google Inbox!
Requires state sync
13
Big Files
AddictiveYES
No need to use anything else!
Replaces XYZ.
No
14
Clips Highlights
AddictiveYES
Need more visibility and accessibility?
Requires state sync
15
Speakeasy
I’m not a public figure; prob. won’t ever use it.
Requires state sync
16
Inbox Notes
AddictiveYES
Need more visibility and accessibility?
Requires state sync
17
Thread Notes
Addictive
Offered by
Spark Mail
and others.
Requires state sync
18
Paper Trail
Addictive
Happy to not mark them as read or archive them.
Yes, in a folder
19
The Feed
AddictiveYES
Happy to not mark them as read or archive them.
Yes, in the client
20
Different States
AddictiveYES
Love that Imbox auto-archives, and that The Feed & Paper Trail have no states!
Yes
21
Mute Threads
I never think of using this kind of feature.
Yes, in a folder
22
Security
Not sure what’s emulable or not here.
There are no rows in this table
22
Count

Here’s the bulk of my reflexions on emulation strategies.
HEY's emulable features
2
The Screener
Screen emails like you screen calls
The Imbox
The Imbox: It's not a typo
Reply Later
A built-in 'Reply Later' workflow
Set Aside
Just set it aside
Speakeasy
The Speakeasy Code
Paper Trail
Put receipts in The Paper Trail
Different States
New For You & Previously Seen
The Screener
Note
Unexpected, brilliant!
Replaces my SaneBox usage.
Emulable?
Will I depend on it?
AddictiveYES
IMAP-able?
Requires state sync
EMULATION
Advantages
This emulation is more flexible than HEY’s and SaneBox’s.

Requirements
Effort
: Be prepared to spend lots of time creating lots and lots of email rules...
Server
: You need a
mail server that can process email rules
before your email clients fetch email.
Make sure you set rules where they will run not in your email client, but on your email server.
Otherwise, if you used a different email client on some platforms, your rules wouldn’t be applied.
Limits
: Watch out for a limit to the number of email rules supported...
ALTERNATIVE
: Use SaneBox to handle the above requirements for you.
Since SaneBox costs the same price as HEY, use SaneBox only if HEY isn’t flexible enough for you.
Also, this gives access to yet another third party to all your emails...

Configuration
Rename
Inbox
Screener.
(This is optional. If you use SaneBox, instead rename
SaneLater
Screener
, and configure it to move new senders email there.)
Create folders for
Imbox
,
The Feed
,
Paper Trail
, and
Screened out
. (Or your preferred conventions.)

Usage
Reserve the
Screener
for unknown senders (i.e. having no filtering rules).
When a message appears in the
Screener
:
If it’s for
Imbox
, add its sender’s address to a rule that moves them there.
If it’s for
The Feed
, add its sender’s address to a rule that moves them there, marking them as read.
If it’s for
Paper Trail
, add its sender’s address to a rule that moves them there, marking them as read.
If it’s to be
Screened out
, add its sender’s address to a rule that moves them there, marking them as read.
When you change your mind about a message’s initial screening:
Hunt down which rule handles this message and change it.
Depending on how you set up your rules, be prepared for
MAJOR PAIN
.
I have never seen a Rules configuration screen that’s efficient to search, update and test rules.
But if you use SaneBox, you just need to move the mail where you would have wanted it filtered.

Questions
Question
Answer
There are no rows in this table

For the non-emulables, some are very arbitrary and discussable. I added some quick notes.
HEY's non-emulable features
2
Rename Subjects
Fix bad subjects without busting threads
All Files
Find files without digging through threads
Notifications
Quiet by default, loud at your discretion
Spy Pixel Blocker
Blocking email spies 24/7/365
Merge Threads
E pluribus unum
Read Together
Spread ’em out, read ’em together
Reply Mode
Focus & Reply: Line ’em up, knock ’em down
Bundles
Bundle dominating senders into one line
Big Files
Send massive files without using other apps
Clips Highlights
Clips: Surface bits, don’t dig for them
Inbox Notes
Stick it to an email
Thread Notes
Add private “notes to self” to any email thread
The Feed
A love letter to newsletters
Mute Threads
Get off threads without having to ask
Security
Secure by design
Rename Subjects
Note
Used it a few times and like it. Might use it again.
Emulable?
Will I depend on it?
Addictive
IMAP-able?
Requires state sync
EMULATION
I’ve often wished I could do this. If an IMAP client does, it’ll need a way to sync it to your other platforms, so you’d need to use the same brand everywhere, which won’t probably happen.
Questions
Question
Answer
1
HEY, when we rename a subject, would it make sense to show us the subject in a different color to remind us we changed it? #QandHEY 1/
There are no rows in this table

Questions

I asked most of those
for a live AMA, and some I wrote to their Support team.
HEY questions
1
Feature
Question
Answer
1
Rename Subjects
HEY, when we rename a subject, would it make sense to show us the subject in a different color to remind us we changed it? #QandHEY 1/
2
Bundles
Written to Support on 2020-07-21
Remember Google Inbox
?

I just remembered why I so much hated it when they sunset it. NOBODY else offers this, AFAIK:

Bundle up <CHATTY> emails
AND show them only once per <PERIOD> at <TIME>

e.g.:

Bundle up
G DOCS
emails AND show them only
TWICE per DAY
at
8AM
and
1PM
.
Bundle up
G FORM
emails AND show them only
once per WEEK
on
THURSDAY 9AM
.

Projection

I wonder if this could be:

A new "delivery destination" called e.g. "
Calm Lane
" or
A bundling option everywhere
:
We've already got bundles in the Imbox, and sometimes we don't need to see their updates more than once or twice per day.
I do have some great but
chatty newsletters in the Feed
that I might prefer bundled up for a single weekly delivery,
and some
chatty Paper Trail items
I'd prefer calmed too.

Cybernetics

I loved Google Inbox's bundling because it
calmed notifications
and, by extension, it
calmed me
. Hey, you've got something great and I realize you're already addressing both sides of
our cybernetic selves
(our
digital extensions
affect our
inner selves
).
3
Set Aside
HEY, when we Set Aside an email, would it make sense to allow us to leave some breadcrumb notes to remember our intent? #QandHEY 2/
4
Merge Threads
HEY, when we Merge Threads, do you plan to allow us to see each one's subject some day? #QandHEY 3/
5
Read Together
HEY, when we Read Together some emails, why can't we act on each one of them from that view? Wouldn’t it reduce the risk of forgetting to act on anything important?
#QandHEY
4/
We can if we remember to click on each email’s avatar.
6
Bundles
HEY, Why can't we Bundle up chatty senders in The Feed & Paper Trail? No tyranny of updating a read status on each message, but maybe bundle them up based on the date of our last visit there? Or someone suggested multiple Feeds for different purposes: even better?
#QandHEY
5/
As of 2020-07-28, we can bundle in Paper Trail:
7
Clips Highlights
HEY, do you plan to make Clips more visible and accessible? Currently they're not accessible from the HEY menu. And would it make sense to Highlight them in their email's view too? #QandHEY 6/
HEY moved the Clips link to the Hey menu. Still not highlighting them in their email’s view, though.
8
Inbox Notes
HEY, why don't you also show Imbox Sticky Notes in the Stacks and in their email thread? You seem to have some yet-to-unveil plan for those, can you share some details? #QandHEY 7/
Jason answered Stickies follow emails. But still: why don’t they follow them in the Stacks and threads?
9
Thread Notes
HEY, why don't you provide a keyboard shortcut to add private "notes to self" in a thread? #QandHEY 8/
10
Paper Trail
HEY, even though you will not maintain read statuses for emails in The Feed and in Paper Trail, how do you feel about showing a visual ruler at the last date-time position we browsed it? I have always wished Twitter did that. #QandHEY 9/
11
HEY, why can't I decide where a contact's messages should appear when I say it's Not Spam? Do you plan to make it work more like The Screener? Until then, it takes me 8 steps per non-spam email to handle it properly. #QandHEY 10/
12
HEY, what do you wish to improve the most or the soonest? #QandHEY 11/
13
HEY, in the future, do you plan to maintain different versions of the HEY UI just like you do with the previous Basecamp versions? #QandHEY 12/
Jason answered it’s too early to tell.
14
HEY, as users, we will always be exclusively required to use your mail clients to access our email. What is your level of commitment to making them the best ones on the market? Are they going to evolve a lot? #QandHEY 13/
15
HEY, in your design, how much of an inspiration were other mail clients like the New Mail Pilot? #QandHEY 14/
16
HEY, when you open up Family accounts, will you support families of 7 like mine? #QandHEY 15/
17
HEY, at Basecamp, do you have people working 3 or 4 day workweeks? If so, how does it work for you?
#QandHEY
16/
Everyone works 4 days in the summer. Don’t know yet if year-long for some people and how it’s lived.
18
Written to Support on June 24.
Wish for the "Not spam" process to work more like the Screener

1. Open a spam email and assess it's not spam.
2. Click
Not spam
.
3. Observe that you're now in
Imbox
and the email is
Already seen
.

This last step makes me feel lost every time, due to my 2 expectations:

A
. I expect to decide immediately where to filter this contact's messages in the future.
B
. I expect to continue processing my other spam messages to be done with them ASAP.

Instead, if I want this message in the
Feed
or
Paper Trail
, I need to:

(1) find it at the top of Already seen,
(2) open it,
(3) click on its contact,
(4) choose where its messages will be filtered to in the future, and
(5) get back to the message, and
(6) move it there; then
(7) navigate back to the Spam view (without any quick shortcut to help with that.)
(8) for each Not Spam email found there, click Not Spam and re-do the 7 steps above.

Or if I want this message in
Imbox
and to
Set Aside
or
Reply Later
, I need to find it back before.

So, to me...

What you chose to implement for Spam seems like a step back from a traditional email client.
I realize I'd like the Spam view to work a bit like The Screener!

Honestly, I expected
Not Spam
'ed emails to appear in the Screener, but I realize you'd tell me it's not logical because I already decided I want those emails; but I haven't yet decided where I want them, e.g. "
Not spam, I'm screening it into my... Feed!
"

p
.s. what you're doing is awesome, and I suppose you already have great plans for Spam handling...
There are no rows in this table
10
Count

Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
CtrlP
) instead.