compose
inbox overload

Compose Is A Distraction-Free Email App That Only Lets You Write Messages

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Compose, an incredibly simple app that took only about an hour to design and another to build, may not be as ridiculous as it initially sounds. The app serves only one purpose: it lets you shoot off a quick email without having to open your email client application. Not only does that make it quicker for you to compose and send an email, it also means you won’t be distracted by the unread items that present themselves to you, ruthlessly demanding your attention every time you open your inbox.

It’s sort of like a productivity hack.

Clearly designed for those who receive a larger-than-average number of emails, Compose is going to appeal mainly to people who often get sucked into dealing with their inbox and its many items in need of attention, every time they launch their email client – even if they just wanted to write a message. It’s not really that much of a timesaver to use Compose, technically speaking – while it can eliminate a couple of steps, in most email clients you can quickly tap the “compose” button while your messages are syncing and start writing.

screen322x572 (1)Instead, the Compose app is more about allowing you to avoid having to even see your unread emails, or being tempted to read them or work through your inbox.

The app is another product from Cluster Labs, which makes the Cluster photo-sharing application and several spin-offs aimed at niche photo-sharing use cases, including apps for travelers, parents, schools, churches, developers/designers and others.

Says Cluster Labs’ CEO Brenden Mulligan, the app isn’t really considered one of Cluster Labs’ “experiments” – it was just a tiny app they built for themselves and a few friends. Originally, they planned to release the app only through TestFlight, after receiving a number of requests from interested parties on Twitter. But users ran into trouble with TestFlight, says Mulligan, so he and co-creator Rizwan Sattar put it out publicly on the App Store instead.

The idea for minimalist apps is not without precedent, however. Mailbox, for example, simplified the traditional email client to focus only on email triage. Captio lets users send themselves quick notes with only a tap. iA Writer is a distraction-free text editor, and there are plenty of simplified to do list apps like Simplenote, Any.do, and others. There are, in fact, minimalist apps for almost every genre, including things like weather app Conditions, alarm clock Rise, and calculator app Rechner.

So a simple email-writing machine may actually have some appeal to those who prefer minimalist, single-purpose apps like this.

Compose is free on iTunes.