Did you forget to send the attachment?
Since I started using email back in the early 1990′s there have been countless times when I’ve forgotten to attach a file to an email. I know I’m not the only one who suffers from this very common phenomena known as a post completion error.
The crazy thing is that errors like this should be considered in the design of software that supports such common tasks as sending an email. Early ATM machines used to give you your money back before your card, which resulted in many people leaving their card in the machine. This was resolved by simply changing the order of tasks, so now you get your card before your money. Which, after all, is the thing you went to the machine for in the first place!
So why in the last 15 years or so has this common error not been tackled in email clients? Well I can’t answer that one, but I was delighted to find this morning that Mozilla seem to have put a neat solution into their Thunderbird email client. Here’s how it works…
When you are writing a new email and mention words like ‘attached’ or ‘attachment’, Thunderbird automatically detects this and pops up a non-invasive reminder at the bottom of the email (highlighted in red).
If you still forget to add the attachment, despite the reminder, and click ‘send’ a prompt pops up in a dialogue window:
A pretty simple but elegant solution to a very common usability problem.
Ironically the way I found out about this was because I was in the process of replying to someone who’d forgotten to send an attachment to an email!
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