Naming Things is Hard

In product design, coding, or just in life, finding the right words to express what you mean is hard. But when you get it right it is a beautiful thing.

# When a Workaround Becomes a Feature

I've been using HEY, the new email platform from Basecamp, for a week now and I've committed to it. I’m in. Here’s why...

It puts some paving stones down on the way that I've been using email for years. I didn't realise how many workarounds I was relying on!

🚨 <<< UX Cliché Alert >>> 🚨

Yes. It does the ‘desire path’ thing.

(2010 are on the phone, Liam—they want their conference talk slide back... what should I tell them?!)

In my defence, clichés become clichés because they contain the truth.

# Snoozing becomes Reply Later

When Inbox by Google allowed you to snooze a message, I thought that was great. When messages arrived that I wanted to deal with later, I’d swipe them away. Over a weekend, I would swipe everything work-related away to process it on a Monday morning.

My head was clear. I could check my mail over the rest of the weekend and have no interruptions from unwanted work thoughts. Life was good.

But if you stop and think about it, it is weird. You’re pretending that you didn't receive a message that you did receive. In real life, would you ask the postie to keep that letter and deliver it tomorrow?

What I realise I was doing was deciding that I would reply to it later. I was setting an arbitrary deadline of Monday morning, or tomorrow morning, or ‘some other time’.

But, there were several times when I we re-snooze the message. In fact, I’ve got one message that I’ve been bouncing along for months.

So when I hit snooze, what I meant was that I would sit down at some point in the future and deal with it.

And that’s what HEY have called it. They’ve called it Reply Later.

They've removed the arbitrary time deadline.

I’ve gone from:

“Snooze this until some other time when you think you’ll want to deal with it. If you don’t, you can re-snooze it to yet another time in the future. And you can keep doing that as many times as you like.”


“Reply Later”

Naming things is hard. Words matter. This is a great example of finding the right name.

And a ton of computer processing to work out when to re-deliver a snoozed email back to you is not needed. Another good thing.