I’ve been a Superhuman email fan for a while. I decided a week ago to go try Gmail and see if I still liked Superhuman so much better.
After about two hours, I went back to Superhuman.
Several days later, I tried Gmail again, deciding that I was just grumpy for some reason. I bounced back to Superhuman within an hour.
This time I sat and thought about why I liked Superhuman so much better. It took a little while for it to come to me, but when it did it was painfully obvious.
When I’m looking at Superhuman, I am processing one consistent font. All the time. It’s the same for every email, except the occasional over formatted and stylized email marketing newsletter thingy. My focus stays on the content and the clean screen. I just read and respond.
When I’m in Gmail, there are a zillion random things everywhere. Emails are in different fonts – both types and sizes. My brain is constantly processing multiple inputs that make me tired, distract me, and slow me down.
All I really want to do it get through my email. When I just sit and process it email by email, with no context switching or distractions, it gets done quickly. Superhuman facilitates this; Gmail doesn’t.
Blogging is similar. The newest WordPress editor is delicious. I just type. It’s clean, simple, and always the same.
When I chew on it more, it’s part of why I love reading on a Kindle. The font is always the same, no matter what I’m reading. Suddenly, my brain is not processing different textures when I’m processing text.
It’s kind of clear to me when I type it out, but it wasn’t obvious until I thought about the other day. We’ve taken the UI to a place of divergence – it’s either consistent and simple or chaotic and complex. I’m all about consistent and simple.
It’s 2018. I’m still an incredibly heavy email user. It’s the primary tool in my workflow and has been since the early 1990s. I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years, but always come back to email.
I’ve been a Gmail user for almost a decade. While I’ve tried client-side apps, Gmail in Chrome has been the only thing that has stuck for me. I’ve also tried many of the iOS email apps and always end up back at Gmail for iOS.
An increasing number of people in my world have been using Superhuman so I decided to give it a try. I was skeptical that it would capture my attention beyond a day. Two weeks later it is, in fact, superhuman. I’m using the Chrome app and the iOS app as my primary email clients.
The other tools I have in my email workflow are SaneBox, Todoist, Notebene (which recently replaced Captio), and FullContact. As a result of Superhuman, I eliminated TextExpander from the mix. The one limitation of Superhuman that causes me a little pain is lack of direct integration with FullContact, which would make managing my address book better.
I didn’t realize how sluggish Gmail on Chrome is, even on a 225Mbps connection (which is what my office is clocking in at this morning.) And, at home, where I often see 3Mbps at high peak usage times, it’s a dream. But, that’s a tiny part of the speed. The big change is that I keep my hands on the keyboard 100% of the time. While I’ve been a heavy Gmail keyboard user, it turns out that you need the mouse for a bunch of Gmail things. Superhuman has turned them all into either keyboard commands, a slightly different workflow, or a “snippet” that lets you create your own compound shortcuts.
I never thought I’d recommend a web-based email client that costs $30 / month, but Superhuman is worth every penny of it. I wish I was an investor, but I guess I’ll live with being a Superhuman user.