How to refuse unnecessary mailings with a single button. Experience team Yandex. Mail

    According to our research, at least 20% of users suffer from a large number of unread emails. The lion's share of these letters is regular mailing. Most of them will never be opened and read - they are a dead weight and distract from useful letters. Many ways have been devised to solve this problem, but none of them can be called complete.

    My name is Ilya Vorobyov, and I will tell Habr's readers the history of the emergence of an alternative solution - the ability to manage mailings and is guaranteed to unsubscribe from anyone without leaving the Yandex.Poshty interface.

    The problem of useless letters is familiar not only on the Internet. In the porches of our homes are metal boxes for the most ordinary paper mail. They are very fond of filling leaflets and booklets. We have to get, carefully sort out, so as not to lose a useful notice or receipt between the pages of advertising. This problem still has no system solution. Unless to hire the harsh concierge to scare away the peddlers of waste paper.

    E-mail fully inherited this problem. It would seem that in the digital environment to solve it should be easier. This is partly the case. For example, our email service quite successfully uses machine intelligence to filter spam from unknown senders with one-time addresses and other heirs from Africa. But not all mailing lists are spam.

    List-Unsubscribe and "Unsubscribe" button

    What to do with regular and sometimes even quality mailings from well-known services to which the user once subscribed, but for various reasons stopped to read?

    Mail service can help people unsubscribe from such letters. Exactly we have been doing this since 2013. It was then that the "Unsubscribe" button appeared in the letters in Yandex.Mail. But this can not be called a complete solution for three reasons.

    First, this button does not work on magic, but uses the List-Unsubscribe link, which the author of the list could convey in the message header (as per RFC 4021 standard ). But he could not pass, so as not to simplify the process of unsubscribing users.

    Secondly, even the presence of the link does not guarantee its correct operation. A click on the “Unsubscribe” button or a link in the letter redirects the user to an external site. The site owner can ignore the link through such a link, request a long-forgotten password from the account, or even ask to call for support during business hours.

    Thirdly, the author of the newsletter could not even provide for the possibility to unsubscribe.

    The first approach to newsletter management

    We were looking for an opportunity to help people who are drowning in mailings, but they don’t find time to analyze letters, complete quests for unsubscribing and setting up manual filters. It was necessary to find a solution that would help anyone quickly find all mailings and is guaranteed to unsubscribe from them.

    In this situation, it is often remembered about the idea of ​​filtering letters by different tabs depending on their nature. It is a good idea when you need to separate mailings from personal letters or social network notifications from airline tickets. But today we have another task - to help people separate the useful things from what they don’t read, and give them the opportunity to reliably get rid of unnecessary letters.

    About two years ago, we drew the first layout of how people could unsubscribe from mailings with our help.

    The idea is simple: to collect in one place all mailings that a person has subscribed to, and to give a guaranteed opportunity to unsubscribe from anyone right in the mail, without going to the service site!

    The layout was not perfect, judging by our current knowledge. For example, as it turned out, the total number of letters and the date of the last little help making an informed decision, rather, they even distract from it.

    Internal prototype

    We took this into account in our first internal prototype, which was assembled in a couple of weeks within the framework of the Interface Development School . In it, we abandoned the extra fields, but tried to help otherwise.

    Yandex.Mail knows which emails are opened, and which mailings remain unread. This means that we can evaluate them on the basis of readability on our own and give a button to delete everything that the user does not read.

    It would seem the perfect solution. It would seem that…

    First experiment

    The prototype formed the basis of the experiment, which was available to some users since last spring. We watched. Changed those or other elements. Collected reviews.

    For example, we realized that people often lack examples of letters to understand whether this is a useful list or not. Therefore, in the end, we added the ability to view a list of recent letters.

    But there were more serious problems. It turned out that users in the majority do not trust the algorithms' estimates of whether the list is useful or not. Moreover, many are afraid to remove even unreadable mailings - what if there is something important there?

    This fear prompted us to modify the solution so that important letters from hidden mailings would still fall into the inbox. For example, if you have refused the newsletter of an online store, you will continue to receive messages about the orders made in it. For this, I had to tinker with machine learning, but it was worth it.

    Run at all

    The final solution, which today we include for all Yandex users. Mail, no longer scares with unnecessary details and complex issues. We give users a simple, convenient interface to manage all mailings and a reliable way to refuse them. People will decide which mailing lists they need.

    The attentive reader could already ask the question, how exactly do we allow to “unsubscribe” from mailings directly in the Mail, without going to the service site? We cannot rely on the integrity of the authors of mailings and the presence of the List-Unsubscribe header. Therefore, all new letters (as well as all old ones, if you put just one tick) are automatically moved to the Trash, from where they can be restored if desired. Mailing, by the way, is also easy to restore at any time in the next tab (and this is more convenient than looking for an opportunity to subscribe to the site).


    A few numbers about the effectiveness of this solution. On average, afflicted users have about 50 mailings. Thanks to a new solution, they unsubscribe from an average of 38 mailings! This saves time and helps not to lose useful letters.

    In addition, we conducted a survey among users who got access to the new feature earlier than others. His results can be found behind the spoiler.

    Poll results

    Further more.

    Also popular now: