I’ve noticed a number of services are popping up that use email as an input method in very creative ways.
Here are a few examples:
Tripit (Travel site aimed at organizing your itineraries)
- Users can forward any confirmation email (e.g. from an airline, hotel, rental car company, or travel site) to a unique email address at tripit.com
- The service then parses the email for any relevant information (e.g. flight arrival and departure times) and posts it to your online account.
- The end result is a consolidated and normalized itinerary for your trip which you can share with your friends.
Highrise (37signals tool for managing customer relationships)
- Forward an email from a customer to your special email address at Highrise and it parse it for name, email, phone, company, and anything else it can from the signature/vCard.
- If the customer is already a contact then Highrise adds it to your log of comments on the customer along with a helpful little date stamp.
- You can even BCC this email when you write to the customer so that the correspondence is added to your log.
Flickr (Photo sharing website)
- Email photo attachments to your special email address at Flickr and it gets added to your account.
- Your subject line is used for the photo title and if you add “tags: ####, ####” anywhere in the email it will get parsed and added to your photo.
All of three of these do a good job of integrating into your life and not causing extra work on your part. As interaction designers if we’re not currently thinking of this as an input method we should.