User Experience Lesson from Google

As a web guy, I like good user experiences.  I try not to make users think.  And I try to make the user experience as intuitive as I possibly can.

Today, I was once again flabbergasted by a great little feature I accidentally discovered using Google’s Gmail.  It reminded me that as good as a user experience gets, there’s always room for improvement.

(It also made me think of the quote from TRON, which is applicable to web design and user experiences as well: “On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy.”)

So what was this great little feature of Gmail?  I was typing a message and had every intention of attaching a PDF file.  Problem is, I totally forgot to attach the PDF file.  Luckily, Google was smart enough to know that I wanted to attach the file, and prompted me, asking if I wanted to attach anything.

“How’d they do that?” you ask?  Well, in my message, I had included the words “Attached is…”, referencing the PDF file I was going to attach and wanted the recipient to look for.  Apparently, Google thought that, like me, people would forget to attach files more than just once.  So they put in logic to search each message for certain keywords (“attached is”, in my case), and if the email has no attachments, they’ll give you a popup message that tells you they found those keywords in your message, and ask if you really want to send the email as-is, or if you want to attach a file.

Chalk one up for Google in teaching us all another lesson on a subtle but well thought-out user experience.

Until next time, happy coding!

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