A few months ago I started working with a team on an iOS mail app called Braid Mail. It’s been pretty crazy time, like I imagine most startups are. I’ve flown back and forth to San Francisco a bunch of times, had some late nights and a lot of trips to the Ritual Coffee cart in Hayes Valley. Version 1.0 came out not long ago, but I knew we’d be doing a few things with it in the next update that made where we were going a little more clear, so I didn’t want to push it too hard… until now.
(If you’d like you can just go get it for free now before continue reading.)
Version 1.1 still isn’t perfect (software never is), but it does a good job of showing off at least one unique feature that I think people will really like that displays in the app in two ways, the categories and the activity screen. Here’s what that looks like (worth mentioning the activity screen is using data we made up in this shot):
What categories are is Braid recognizing important messages for you and turning those into categories we display in the side bar. So if you have emails from an airline, we’ll add a “travel” category, or if you have shipping notifications, we’ll add a “deliveries” category. The idea is to — without messing with your inbox and screwing up your organization — put things into a place where you can find them easily without having to search or poke around too much.
The activity feed is related to categories, but serves a different purpose. Instead of discrete categories for your email, it’s a running list of all the kinds of messages which Braid was able to categorize. It’s a different way of viewing incoming messages that makes it easier to see what kind of mail you’re receiving, and find stuff that’s important when you’re not sure of what category it might fit into.
When designing Braid Mail, the goal was to create something which felt completely at home on iOS 7 and also introduced features that we didn’t feel were being done great by any other apps available for iOS users. My opinion has always been that when creating something new it’s better to decide what your app is about and really do the hell out of that thing, and that’s the direction that we’ve taken in designing Braid.
We still have a lot we want to do, and I’m sure we will for a long time. For starters we want to support more services than just Gmail, and give you the ability to tell Braid how to categorize messages that it didn’t know about. As it stands I think there’s a lot for us to be proud of here, and I’d really appreciate you taking the time to check it out. It’s free on the The App Store and you can get it now.