In an effort to help people spend less time reading and writing email, a new iPhone app called TL;DR that launched today urges users to keep things short and sweet.
Short for ‘too long; didn’t read’, TL;DR is another take on mobile email that encourages brevity. When you’re composing a new email, the app encourages you to limit your message to just 30 words and displays it to your recipient in big, bold letters.
Composing and replying to emails
If you must write a longer email, the rest of your email copy will be displayed below your initial message as standard text.
On the inbox side of things, TL;DR displays messages in a News Feed-like view, similar to what you see when you login to Facebook.
The idea is for you to quickly glance at, consume and act on your email load: read messages without opening each one separately, swipe left to snooze messages for later, swipe right to archive. You can also reply and unsubscribe from newsletters directly from the inbox screen.
Now, I’m partial to Gmail’s organization features like stars and labels, and its wonderful categorization system that separates promos and transactional emails from actual mail. TL;DR eschews all that for a stripped-back, streamlined experience that’s great for blazing through your inbox in double time.
TL;DR is the brainchild of Ami Ben David, who previously co-founded context-based Android launcher Everything.Me. The brevity-focused app attracted a seed investment from Moshe Hogeg, founder of Yo, another to-the-point messaging app. The pair agreed that email takes up way too much of everyone’s time.
While its approach to composing and acting on email is solid, TL;DR’s app still needs a bit of work. It doesn’t yet support multiple accounts or display HTML emails as well as I’d like. Given that, it’s not going to be able to knock Gmail off my home screen any time soon.
I’d recommend using TL;DR as a secondary email app on mobile for two reasons: to tackle email quickly while on the go, and to train yourself to compose and reply to email with short messages.
TL;DR is currently available on iPhone for Gmail and Google Apps accounts, initially for the first thousand users that sign up on the app’s site, with access opening up in the coming days.
An Android app and support for Outlook’s email service are also on the way.