I tried out Accompli, an email app for iPhone, last week. Although it boasts a lot of cool features, it didn't quite make the cut for me.
Setup: Setup was actually super easy. It was a great experience. I was presented immediately with the option for an exchange account or a gmail account. Logging in was quick and easy as well.
Irritating icon: It seems like it might be nitpicky to comment on the app's icon like this, but it really caused a lot of mental strife for me. It doesn't seem fair to fault the app for its icon like this, but it really was a deal-breaker for me.
The icon felt noisy, probably more importantly, it doesn't say "mail" to me. I see the icon and I just feel friction. Gmail, Mail, and Mailbox all have an icon that makes sense to me. So when I had a whole bunch of notifications for emails from Accompli, each one felt bothersome and wrong.
Scheduling feature: The scheduling feature seemed awesome. But I didn't end up using it. This probably has a lot more to do with the fact that I don't usually scheudle things through an email.
People View: Setting up my inbox like a chat program is cool, but my emails don't tend to form conversations that way. Most of my conversations take place in iMessage or Facebook messanger (or in person!).
Attachments List: The attachments view was also a cool idea, but I'm not sure if its really geared towards what I do. If I ever have an attachment in an email I'm usually opening it on my desktop. I rarely find myself digging back into my inbox searching for a particular attachment. I have to wonder whether, in the rare cases where I am looking, if this app would really help much more.
The app is well engineered. Its the design that's off base for me. Perhaps that's because I'm not really in the target audience for the app. My inbox isn't really filled with conversations, I rarely have to go back and look for attachments, and while the scheduling concept seems great, I don't usually schedule things via mail. I'm on a call, or in person, or on Facebook, or in a text. Why would I open my "mail app" to schedule something while on a call?
When it came down to it, Accompli really wasn't good enough to get me to leave Gmail. While it did borrow some of what made Mailbox cool (swiping to archive/delete), its focus seems muddy.
Perhaps Accompli is trying to solve too many insignificant problems. If I were to choose something to focus on for this app, I would ask for a focus on the scheduling aspect. What I really need is a tool that can help me quickly schedule tasks and with iOS interopability like share sheets there's really no reason that app has to be the all-in-one solution for mail and scheduling.
To me, it seemed like Accompli's strongest feature was scheduling. This feature is also the most buried and hardest to get to. You can explore everything else just be sifting through the app. But the scheduling has to happen organicially to really be valuable.
I don't know how much adoption the app is really seeing, but I would wager that the app is probably not wooing as many people as Accompli would like it to. I think that if the app really wants to excel it should focus on the scheduling, because that was its killer feature.