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"Undo" When Sending Email  (View post)

Richard [PersonRank 0]

Thursday, December 13, 2007
12 years ago11,028 views

How many in-progress emails have you received? I short period is warranted. Sometimes I edit outside of mail programs to make sure i don't send prematurely

Cadu Garcia [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

I like the idea.

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Outlook (when used in a homogenous Exchange environment) has an 'undo' button for sending. It's called 'recall message' and it's hillarious.

It doesn't work if the recipient has read the message already, so you get people accidently reply-to-all'ing with a personal message, you and your friends have a good laugh at their expense, and 5 seconds later the 'the sender if trying to recall this message' message arrives. Good stuff ;)

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

[recall message]

gene chew [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

it's not "How often did you hit that button" but rather how important were the letters you accidentally sent unfinished.

I'd love to have that function in Gmail, perhaps with a possibility to switch it off.

gary [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Good idea but this functionnality must be set trough an interface and can be shut down as well.

When i have a conversation by mail with my friend who can't access gtalk or IM application, i don't want my "3 words email" stay 10 sec waiting for my acknowledgment (by default i mean).

I don't want to slow gmail with this new functionnality.

JohnMu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Should be simple to do with a bit of Greasemonkey'ing ;-).

David [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Perhaps Google should put some logic behind the Send button to try to determine if an email is complete. This would require some analysis, but it should be possible to catch at least some of the cases, and then warn the user that they email they are trying to send may not be ready to go out.

Robert [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

I would LOVE it!!! even with the countdown button
maybe for 30 seconds... and if you are sure you can just hit an "Push" button and it is sent straight away
you should turn this option on and off in your settings

Freiddie [PersonRank 7]

12 years ago #

I think it's just the same thing as having a confirmation dialog that lasts a few seconds. The only difference is the wording.

Full name [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Yes, this would be perfect. Delay emails for 10 seconds, and show an orange bar with:

Your email is being sent in 10 seconds. [Learn more] [Undo] [Send now]
Your email is being sent in 9 seconds. [Learn more] [Undo] [Send now]
Your email is being sent in 8 seconds. [Learn more] [Undo] [Send now]
etc.

Ankur [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

I think it's a good idea! It happens a lot of time, we send an email and later realize that we forgot to include attachments.
  
But, it might not suit every user, so I believe it must be enabled as an optional feature so that users can exercise better control.

In fact, we should be able to configure it like Send all mails in Outbox after we queue all emails in the Outbox.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I'd like to see this implemented. But, like others are suggesting, it would be good to switch it off. However, I'd prefer an override option and the time of sending as otherwise, people would switch if off thinking they'd never need it and then be kicking themselves when they screw up... In fact, "Full name"'s suggestion would be perfect.

Of course, in the good old days, the email say in your Outbox for a while which allowed you to catch it before doing a send and receive. Times have since changed but applications haven't really allowed for this.

Having an "Undo" option is so much better than "Are you really sure you meant to do that?" dialog boxes too.

Reto Meier: I've seen that recall message in action so many times (myself included) and I agree it's hilarious when someone uses it... I mean, it's gotta be a pretty big mistake to warrant sending a recall message request which risks you looking even more like a fool! :-D

Suresh S [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

The GreaseMonkey scripts are not working .The id for the send button changes frequently.

Matt [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Make it an option to turn it off or not maybe. ;)

jims tips [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

[soapbox]
While an Undo feature could be useful, isn't this just coddling people who should otherwise be paying closer attention to what they are doing? A mistake is a mistake, and people need to learn to live with the consequences of the mistakes they make.
[/soapbox]

Instead of focusing on an Undo Send feature, I would personally prefer to see more development efforts made on delivery receipt and read receipt functionality.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

<< A mistake is a mistake, and people need to learn to live with the consequences of the mistakes they make. >>

And people will ALWAYS make mistakes (including yourself) so why not make it possible to fix a mistake?

Do you also suggest we get rid of spell checkers?

Roy [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Yeah, I think it is needed in most of the case.
We usually pressed the SEND button and a second later found something wrong. However we can't UNDO it and the wrong email sent out.

It's good to add a delay and count down after pressed the SEND button

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Here's an idea... just don't send emails anymore. Instead, always create a new Google Document and invite others to collaborate. If you realise you screwed up after sending the invite, just open it up and make some changes. When they want to reply, they can just add their comments to the document too and it will move to the top of your list of documents (like it would do in Gmail when they reply to your email).

Of course, this means you can only communicate with people who are using Google Docs...

:-)

Varun [PersonRank 3]

12 years ago #

The idea which Paul Buchheit has, I had a similar though different idea and I have sent a suggestion to GMail team to infact add a small feature which parses the email content and check if there is any word like PFA, attach, attachment..or other similar words and popup a message which ask the user to attach the file
After all this is the most common error which happens while sending the email. And adding a feature like this will certainly add a more human touch to GMail

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I'd like to see a dropdown next to the Send button that lets you schedule when Gmail is supposed to send the email (in 5 minutes, in an hour, on a certain date etc.)

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

<<Usually, after you have sent a message, there is no going back or unsending it. With AIM Mail, all may not be lost, however. If the message was addressed only to AOL or AIM Mail users (typically addresses ending in "[put at-character here]aol.com" or "[put at-character here]aim.com"), you can silently remove it from the recipients' Inboxes as long as it has not yet been opened.>>

email.about.com/od/aimmailtips ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Full Name's suggestion with a "Send Now" is also good. Though if you don't watch it things might get bloated – as they say every interface element, including "Send Now" or "Learn More" or "Adjust send delay" links, require the user to make a decision! Or how about the wording "Mail is being sent" with some tiny, rather low-saturation progress bar (sort of the size of the PageRank bar but even less visible), and the word "Undo" next to it. Might look more friendly, positive than a "soon it's too late!" countdown ticker...

Bill Mac [PersonRank 9]

12 years ago #

<<And adding a feature like this will certainly add a more human touch to GMail>>

I've never had a human pop up in front of me and ask me if I'd like to include an attachment as I'm about to send an email. Just sayin'.

I do like the idea as presented by Full Name above. Users should also get to set the value for number of seconds the message is displayed. Two or three seconds would be plenty for me (I think), but I can think of plenty of people for whom a longer delay might be more suitable.

And please keep Read Receipts out of Gmail. I already feel spied-on enough.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

>> And please keep Read Receipts out of Gmail.

Agreed. If necessary, I'll tell you when I've read your email, thank you very much!

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Delaying sending of an email is a downside, and I don't want my email to be delayed. Sometimes I'm trying to email an office worker before they leave work, for example.

For messages sent exclusively to Gmail addresses, Google could offer an "Undo" button that persists until one or more recipients have seen the message. The "Undo" button would then disappear.

The "Private Message" function of the phpBB bulletin board works like that. You click "Send", and the message gets put into your Outbox. If the recipient picks up the message, it gets moved from your Outbox to your Sentbox. Otherwise, if you delete the message from your Outbox before the recipient sees it, it's gone.

Bill Mac [PersonRank 9]

12 years ago #

<<Might look more friendly, positive than a "soon it's too late!" countdown ticker...>>

I agree, and I meant to mention that point. Perhaps the message itself could fade out, indicating the message has been sent. Might not be immediately obvious to users, but they'll figure it out.

Requiring users to make too many decisions IS an impediment, so what is the correct default action to choose for them? And how do you let them know what it is without asking them to "find out more", which is of course asking them to make another decision?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> Perhaps the message itself could fade
> out, indicating the message has been sent.

That's very interesting. An Undo button that's slowly fading out makes it 100% visually/ almost physically clear, without any need for wordy explanations, what's happening (if the Undo button has disappeared obviously you won't be able to click it :)).

fading out -->> Email sent. [Undo] <<-- fading out

> so what is the correct default action
> to choose for them?

I think you need to figure out if an option is OK for 99.9% of the Gmail users. Then put all the rest of the split decisions, if absolutely necessary, in the options but don't link to it from the interface except for that Settings button. Or, if something happens to be very needed but still very complicated (and you just don't know yet how to make it less complicated), put a [?] icon next to it. So if it happens that say 10 seconds is great for 99.9% of the people, then make that a default and let the 0.1% power users (all of us discussing here I suppose!) figure it out for themselves.

Trail Head [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #


   Seeing as we are talking about implementing features here... I'd like to see a radio button, a toggle, for "Queue to Send".

   With this turned 'on' all emails would be held as drafts until you release the button. When you turn it 'off', a dialogue would ask if you want to send queued mail now.

   The user would get to control the 'feature' and would allow you to work with all your email ... and then send it off. That would allow you to make sure things are ready to go... This hails back to years ago with dial-up when email was sent when connections were made. It is a good way of working with email... dealing with all that has to be answered and then sending it... I realize that that is not always the way you want to do email... but for a lot of people it would allow them to compartmentalize their answering of email...

-smile.

akatsuki [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Undo would be fine, and easy to implement internally I would imagine. You could have it mimic the recall message for Outlook users. But that doesn't address pretty much everyone else.

A 10 second delay might work okay and not be too onerous. Just have the Undo Send have a countdown and then fade out, people can figure that out pretty easily.

What would be better would be to work with providers to create a standard undo send, read receipt and other functionality and push it through. In fact, Google is in a great position to advance the e-mail standards to include lots of things that are talked about but never done to reform e-mail and eliminate spam.

Rich [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

This has got to be the worst hack for email I've heard since the hilarious "recall".

Trail Head has it right. I'd do it slightly differently: move "Send" to the drop-down menu as "Send now", add a "Queue" button, and have a global "Send queued mail" button. Finally, add two preference settings to "Send queued mail when I log out" and "Send queued mail after a period of inactivity" with a choice of 5, 15, 30 minutes or 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24 hours. This would make things clear and unambiguous. It also doesn't suffer the new problems a countdown timer creates.

Yes, switching on this functionality should also be a preference setting.

Ben Kessler [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

This could work like digg's comments. You have 120 seconds to edit a comment after its posted, after that the edit screen disappears.

Trail Head [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #


   Another feature I miss is the ability to forecast the date of sending an email. Especially at this time of year with Christmas Greetings.

   Some services allow you to forecast the send date as much as a month... and that has always been useful.

   In this instance... Using the forecasting of the send... you would then have another built-in recall...

trail.

David T [PersonRank 7]

12 years ago #

Great idea!

Daniel M [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Yeah I'm definitely in favor of having a countdown. The reason being that when you send an email that's uncompleted it's because you weren't thinking at the moment you hit the send button. If you have a timer it will almost force you to think about what you have sent. Please add something like that. Just the other day I sent an email out and was kicking myself after I sent it. A feature like that would have been awesome!

Kirby Witmer [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Awesome Idea!!

LazyFishent [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Hopefully Paul will know not to do anything in a way that makes things more complicated, forces an option on people, or makes it look like there is a new decision to make

I work in tech support and wish my company (Internet service provider) would use the gmail interface for its customer webmail/email solution b/c of how easy it is. (Through their Google Apps for your domain partner edition)

Dealing with the "average user" day in and day out I can tell you you don;t want to throw a word like "queue" @ your average Mom/Dad/Grandpa. Their head would explode. Keep it simple.

First I like the way Gmail has taken hints from the successful Greasemonkey apps. They should go ahead and give customers a pop up reminder when an email contains words that indicate they meant to add attachment.

I agree that there should be an option to send a draft at a specific time. But leave that in the draft section instead of crufting up the normal Compose message area since this is something your average user will use less than 5% of the time. (Keep the small things small)

I think the most simple way to implement this "undo" would be to just use the yellow pop-up that already comes up saying
"Your message has been sent." Change it to say
"Your message has been sent. Learn More Undo"
And under the Undo you can put the tiny progress bar/ Page rank-type timer that is only slightly bigger than the underline. Once it times out undo would be greyed out. Or you could just make it grey out or dissapear without the timer.

The "has been sent" part tells people that they don't have to sit around and wait. If you said anything else they would think they couldn't do anything else in their account till it was sent. When they hit learn more they would be given the option to send all messages immediatly

What I do to keep from accidently sending is when I hit forward,reply or compose I make sure I clear out the to:cc:&bcc: feilds before I type the response so that when I'm done I cant send untill I review. thats just me though
Instead of saying your message has been sent say

Sour Grapes [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

It would be so cool to have an Undo function in real life:
dogbitesman.stripgenerator.com ...

macbeach [PersonRank 6]

12 years ago #

While there may be a few cases where someone hits send and then realizes within ten seconds they shouldn't have, adding to that the fact that not all of us have such quick reflexes or good eyesight to hit the "undo" in time, the reality is that we often realize we said the wrong thing, or forgot to say something we should have minutes or hours later.

In a work environment, using MS Outlook there have been more than one instance of my attention being drawn to an interoffice message that I would have otherwise ignored due to the failed attempt to withdraw it.

For mistaken messages that can truly cause embarrassment, I think the better action is to send out an apology with an updated message.

On the other hand, there are times when someone, for example, sends out a meeting announcement with a wrong time on it, etc., and for the convenience of the recipients withdraws this message and sends out a corrected one. In this case, the clumsy Microsoft protocol makes a bit of sense, and given that there is no Internet standard alternative I don't know why Gmail couldn't emulate this behavior (but give me as a recipient the option of turning it off).

Nacho [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I'd suggest a hybrid concept. Like the Greasemonkey script, but fully integrated in Gmail. If Gmail thinks you should attach something, for instance, it'll give give you 30 seconds to withdraw, etc.

Tutsie [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

It will be better if we could set the the amount of 'undo' time or timer ourselves in settings, instead of just 10 secs for everyone.

Tutsie [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

And then who doesn't like the undo function could set if off, or give it 0 secs, and the users who does like it can give it whatever they think works the best for them.

Piotr Konieczny [PersonRank 9]

12 years ago #

I knew that usenet's supersedes would finally say 'hallo' to e-mails :-)

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

This is something I have always wanted. There have been so many times when I have needed this.

PS Posted on my new iPod touch!!!

GoogleTrader [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I don't like this idea at all. I mean what is the threshold for how long it takes you to realize you made a mistake. Most of the time when I send an e-mail I want it out instantly. The likelihood that I'm going to change my mind within 10 seconds is not that likely. Happens occasionally, but I would rather not be bothered with it and just have my messages go out right away.

So if I had the feature on, I'd probably click the "send right away" button most of the time which would eliminate the benefit anyways.

pokemo [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Would suggest the ability to Recall Msg within Gmails...

Zim [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

It's a nice idea... maybe with a opition in the settings where you select
*No delay (send it now!)
*10 sec
*15 sec
*30 sec
And a dialog over the inbox like "Full Name" said some comments up :)

AL7AIR [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I add the recipient last after reading through the mail once or twice and checking the attachments, so no need for an undo function in my case. But if the majority of users really needs or wants such a feature I'd go with the enable / disable option in the settings.

GoogleTrader [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

haha I always do that too. I always put the recipient in last.

Full name [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Guys, no undo solution will cover 100% of scenarios. If you realize you made a mistake 5 hours later, it's basically too late to undo your action. Tough luck! And any sort of "queue" or "recall" feature is just going to be too complicated for 99.9% of users.

In light of this, the best solution really is a delay of 10 to 15 seconds. Sure, make it adjustable. But 10 to 15 seconds is almost always enough time to realize that you:

* accidentally clicked on the "send" button when you still hadn't finished composing
* forgot to include an attachment
* used "reply" instead of "reply to all", or vice versa
* just made a stupid mistake

Also, I like the idea of saying "Your email has been sent" and showing a small status bar instead of the exact number of seconds, both of which would reducing anxiety in the vast majority of cases when you actually wanted to send your email.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Paul Buchheit himself chimed in:

paulbuchheit.blogspot.com/2007 ...

Ricardo [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

just do it.

Phil Varner [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

I like the option of allowing the user to have a Queue button instead of a Send button. However, I think the mail should be sent automatically after a brief period, say a minute by default. The user should not be required to manually click a "send all of my queued mail" command. If you don't remember you forgot the attachment before you move on to something else, you're never going to remember it.

Another commenter mentioned after a period of inactivity, but how often does that happen? If I'm flipping between email and something else, I don't want my client to wait until I haven't touched the mail client for 15 minutes to send.

John K [PersonRank 2]

12 years ago #

BigString.com already has a method of recalling a message even if it has been read....seems like gmail is a bit behind the curve on this one.

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

BigString also sends your email as an image hosted on their servers. That's why you can edit the message or even delete it. But most email clients block external images, so your message will appear blank.

rourkem.com/tech/email/bigstri ...

X-Force [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

It would be so cool to have this function!!!

Bilal [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I sent many incomplete mails by error, at least site should ask confirmation before sending..

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