Hey Launches

June 17, 2020

This week is the official launch of Hey.com, the new e-mail service from the folks at Basecamp. I haven’t been this excited about e-mail since Gmail launched over 15 years ago. (Remember how cool it was that they offered 1GB of storage, and didn’t force you to put things in folders?) The thinking behind Hey is nothing less than you’d expect from the Basecamp team. They didn’t just create a new e-mail client. They rethought everything about how e-mail works and what it should be in 2020. Some of the highlights from the tour on Hey.com:
  1. Screening of e-mails and senders, just like incoming phone calls.
  2. Renaming subject lines and grouping related threads together to keep things organized.
  3. Surfacing all files that have been received and sent in one simple file browser. Hallelujah.
  4. No push notifications, unless you opt-in.
  5. A first-party way to reply to something later. Perfectly suited towards organizing and prioritizing your replies.
  6. A “paper trail” section to keep all receipts. Brilliant.
  7. A single page readable view for newsletters.
  8. A way to add notes and reminders for yourself inline with your e-mails.
  9. Safe image loading through a proxy on Hey’s servers, and automatic spy pixel blocking.
On the interface design front, there are some very nice patterns here too. Everything is super fast. There are keyboard shortcuts for (nearly?) everything you see. The interface is clearly designed to be useful and get out of your way. It looks lovely. Hey is a very opinionated product. It’s not going to be for everyone. That’s by design, and the product is better for it. Last but not least, I love the video tour that’s posted on Basecamp’s YouTube page. It’s just Jason Fried walking you through the features of Hey while sharing his screen. No frills, no super polished animations or faceless voiceovers. Just the creator of the product telling you about how it works and why they made the decisions they did. Everything about this product is completely refreshing.