Reply To All

It simply had to happen again: an unfortunate coworker responded to a department Christmas party invitation, but instead of selecting “Reply” he accidentally chose “Reply to All”. Now 200 people not only know that he will join but also what particular meal he prefers.

Not a big deal, you think?

Years ago, I was on a team facing schedule problems. Our team lead sent an email to our sales manager trying to explain the technical difficulties that we were facing; the whole development and sales team was on the “CC” list. One of the developers replied to the team lead, indicating that a person like our sales manager would never understand our technical problems.

Well, he didn’t use the exact same words that I just used; in fact, he used quite different, actually, rather — ahem — colorful words to express his feelings about the technical abilities of our sales manager. And — you guessed it — he inadvertently clicked on “Reply to All”.

In my view, the one who really is to blame when something happens like this is the company that develops such bad user interfaces. Actually, I don’t know a single mail client that has some level of protection against such embarrassing scenarios.

Here is my solution: When the user selects “Reply To All” change the color of the background to red (or make a beep or some other noticeable change to the look and feel); most importantly, replace the text of the “Send” button with “Send to All”.