As a master student studying Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University, I will receive tons of emails a day. Most of the emails are about events happening around campus, group project meeting, etc. Manually adding event info is painful and can take a lot of time.“Why not use an iCalendar (“.ics)?”
These files aren’t always available. Your email senders need to create and include these files in their emails in the first place. Not every sender knows how to create these files. Plus, asking senders to create .ics increase their burden and workload. Instead of blaming the senders for not using .ics, maybe we can think of how to design a better experience from the recipients’ perspective. Also, iCalendar was developed decades ago, the advancement of natural language processing allows email apps to detect event information from emails directly.“Outlook and Gmail can do this.”
Yes, and No. Indeed, Outlook
can automatically retrieve important events from your emails to your calendar. But they aren’t flexible enough. The function is only available for emails from “Supported Providers”, which include flights, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc. They aren’t going to detect meeting info from your product manager, or happy hour invite from your colleagues.