Monday, January 24, 2011

Are You Sure You Want to Reply?

Here’s a suggestion for Research In Motion (RIM), the folks who make Blackberry phones. When a user is about to reply to a message he or she has just read, wouldn’t be terrific if a little box popped up on the screen that said: “Are you sure you want to reply?” in the same way that it now asks you to confirm that you actually want to delete a message before you’re allowed to delete it.

Why would this be an effective addition? Well, listen to this story. An employee in our office copied me on an email sent to a client regarding work we were doing for that client. I prepared an email in response that offered some advice — for his eyes only — regarding what he had told the client. I thought I had sent it back to him, using the reply button. Shortly thereafter there was an email from the client that said: “I think you meant this email for John [the employee].” Oops! Did I screw up or what?

I thought hard about the next step, as I would rather the client had not seen my comments to the employee. I sent the client an email and called her. She was very understanding and agreed with my advice to the employee. Nevertheless, it was an embarrassing moment.

Had a “reply confirmation” box popped up, it would have forced me to be more scrutinizing — and focus on the “from” section of the email and who I now wanted it to go to. Mistakes like this can be costly. I know that apps like ReplyGuard are available for download for a modest fee, but I am urging RIM’s management to make reply confirmation standard equipment on all future Blackberry products.

Technorati Tags: Research In Motion, Blackberry, ReplyGuard, phone, embarrassing

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