Don’t forget the attachment

November 17, 2010

I’m rarely wowed by UIs these days, but Gmail impressed me today. I was writing up an email, with the intent of attaching a document. Of course, by the time I finished writing the email, I had forgotten to actually attach the document. But Gmail informed me of this mistake when I pressed send:

I wonder if they can figure out a way to warn me even before I press send?

12 Responses to “Don’t forget the attachment”

  1. Charlie Hayes Says:

    Not sure how a modal dialogue is impressive ;)

    • Ken Says:

      Normally I’d agree with you (hence my comment about “can Gmail notify us before we press send”). But if a modal dialog can save a back and forth of “did you mean to attach that”, “oh right I did mean to attach that!”, I’m all for it!

  2. Thunderbird does the same, but it display more subtle reminder at the bottom when you’re editing message and modal dialog when you are sending it.
    @Charlie Hayes: if something is useful its impressive no matter what the trend is.

  3. hertzi Says:

    Exactly, Thunderbird does that since a while – you even can edit the keywords with which the program recognizes that you want to send an attachment.

  4. Jared Says:

    Ken, I happened across the exact same feature today (did they just add it?), and I was blown away. It was spot on. And yet, I bet it was absurdly simple for Google to implement/copy from Thunderbird.

    • Ken Says:

      Hey Jared,

      Definitely seems like this is a relatively new feature. Amazing how such a simple thing can be so impressive!

  5. Mike Says:

    This is why engineers shouldn’t design user interfaces. This reminds me of a campus visit to one of the top engineering schools in the country. At the end of my visit, I was given a survey.

    My favorite question:

    What did you think about the group size?

    Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree

    • Ken Says:

      I guess I don’t understand your comment Mike. How is the message in the dialog confusing or inappropriate to the situation?

      • MIke Says:


        how embarrassing, while juggling between dozens of tabs, I posted a message meant for somewhere else.

        Only the second time I’ve done this. The last guy found my post to be very enlightening.

        Maybe some Google engineer will figure out how to pop up a confirm box, so this doesn’t happen again.

      • Ken Says:

        Ah, well that makes more sense then!

  6. “I wonder if they can figure out a way to warn me even before I press send?”

    Oh dear lord… please don’t. Zombie Office Assistant… back from the dead! Noooo!! Run!!!

    • Peter Says:

      Indeed. It would seem trivial for them to warn you before you press send, I suspect they may have discussed when would be an appropriate / non-intrusive time to prompt and sensibly chose the point they did.

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