Microsoft Research’s Community Technology presents SNARF, the Social Network and Relationship Finder.
SNARF was built around the notion that social network information that is already available to the computer system can be usefully reflected to the user: a message from a manager might be seen differently than a message from a stranger, for example. SNARF applies this idea to email triage: handling the flow of messages when time is short and mail is long.
The SNARF UI is designed to provide a quick overview of unread mail, organized by its importance. The UI shows a series of different panes with unread mail in them; each pane shows a list of authors of messages. Clicking on a name shows all messages involving that person.
People use a variety of strategies to handle triage; there is no single “best” ordering of email messages to produce an optimal outcome.
SNARF gives the user the freedom to build their own ordering. Each person in their inbox is assigned a set of meta-information: “number of emails sent in the last month,” for example. These metrics can, in turn, be combined to create an ordering across all contacts. For more information, check out the CEAS paper on SNARF.