Hey. HEY. HEY!
Don't miss the update to this post at the bottom⬇.
I think I am starting to "get" HEY. Maybe? 🤷♂️ 📧
This is not really a standard structured blog post or even a review, more of a stream of thoughts over the course of 14 days actually using the Hey email service/app/method/ideology/thing.
14 Days & 14 Observations!
(you know me, it'll be more than 14..)
- The Mac app is another terrible web wrapper "app" in a long line of terrible excuses for Mac apps. You might as well just use the web on your Mac, this "app" isn't helping anyone. There should be a real Mac app that is at least on par with the iOS version. Perhaps they are waiting for Apple Silicon so you can run the iOS version? It would have gone a long way to make the iOS version into a Catalyst app in the meantime. The worst Catalyst app is infinitely better than web wrapper fake apps. No badge notifications either.
- The iOS / iPadOS apps feel good. They might be a fancier web wrapper as well, not sure, but they feel way more native than the Mac "app" for sure. I can't seem to get either of them to show badges either, maybe that is on purpose, or I am missing something.
- The web app is a web app. No issues here, I just prefer to have a dedicated app rather than opening a browser when I want to check email.
In terms of quality of apps and experience using them I would currently rank them:
- I am not sure yet if "The Feed" and "Paper Trail" are anything different than a mail rule / folder in that they hide mail away rather than dealing with it. I had to get into a rhythm for how often I should be checking "The Feed". It really shouldn't matter given that whatever I put there should theoretically not be time sensitive or crucially important. It is nice knowing that I won't be jumping to check a mail notification only to find out it's a newsletter that can wait.
- The screening process is like Sane Blackhole that is part of the Sanebox platform. That was always one of my favorite features of Sandbox and I really like the way it's done with Hey.
- Not quite sure what I need "labels" for? I have been trying them out to organize a few things that I would normally use folders for and it's working out for me so far. I do like how it ties things together visually as they come into my inbox with auto-filing. Maybe it's mostly just to make Gmail people feel comfortable in switching?
- There is no traditional "Archive" of your mail, but there is Trash. Trash is emptied automatically after 30 days so don't use it as an Archive!
- Rather than an archive that is out of sight out of mind, when you are done looking at all new items, they live at the bottom of the interface under a "Previously Seen" header. This took me the longest to get over since it has always been a personal preference that when I am done looking at email I like the screen to be empty of stuff. It's basically your standard "archive" folder but always in your face. I am over it now though.
- Clips is really interesting. You highlight text in an email and then you get a separate section of all your clips. This could be either really useful, or a slippery slope of adding another collection location to your system of organizing and finding information; it will really depend on you. I use it pretty sparingly, but it's neat and handy for me.
- The ability to add notes to individual emails is a nice feature that I am finding quite useful. Adding a quick note to an email about when you cancelled an account for example.
- You can change the subject lines of emails to anything you like and only you see the changes. This is really nice for searching or just organizing. If you need to reply, it's not problem because it keeps the original subject line for communication thread purposes.
General / Other
- The upcoming custom domain feature is what I am really excited about. We currently use 2 separate emails with our domain on FastMail. I will never use a @hey address as my actual email. I will most likely move us to Hey for Work and that will give us all the same functionality we use today as far as addresses go.
- The Hand Turkey (that's what I see anyway) logo is fun.
- Initially I wanted an option to change "Imbox" to "Inbox". It felt super weird the first 18 times I saw it but now I don't really notice so I guess it isn't that big of a deal.
- Submitting support requests is a very nice flow. Works just like a standard email all through the system you already know. On 2020-10-30 I had an issue with getting trapped in a menu / navigation. (This turned out to be an odd interaction with one of my Safari Extensions called "CleanLinks"). The support staff was very friendly and helped me get everything sorted very quickly and efficiently.
- I would like to see it get better at auto-populating contact photos, especially for websites and companies. Example: It gives LinkedIn their logo, but eBay is just a generic text "e". I have been updating all mine that don't have then manually because I like how it looks with all the little logos. Maybe this could be somehow crowdsourced?
This has been a good experience and it really took the full 14 days for me to get what Hey was trying to do. Earlier in the year I said I didn't get it and it wasn't for me, but of course I hadn't actually tried it for a full 2 weeks. The Hey system has already broken me of some bad email habits that I have had for many years and at the same time made me relax quite a bit in my manic ways when it comes to my email. I used to archive EVERY SINGLE EMAIL regardless of how useless it was. I am now trashing things left and right. Let it go! Somewhat of a 2 week email detox.
Unrelated, it was a nice reminder that we should shut up when it comes to our opinions until we actually try something.
My final review after 14 days of use...
...I gave them $99 out of five stars.
I have been using it for over a month now, and I have a bit more to say now.
- I am not sure how I didn't think of this before, but it's obvious that since Basecamp is a web first company, there is never going to be a really good native app for Mac or iOS/iPadOS.
- Given the strong opinions of some of the leadership, I think that overall we are not in alignment for the long term evolution of the product.
- As of 2020-12-20 I requested to close my account and received a pro-rated refund.