Robert Denton

Staggering work of genius from Portland, Maine – Photographer, Designer, Taco Maker, Birder, Biker, Business Owner

UI problem or PEBKAC?

Accidental e-mail congratulates 7,000 on admission to UC Berkeley law school – Computerworld

I have no idea what mass email tool Berkeley Law School uses but this is a telling tale. Are there enough warnings in the UI to prevent a user from accidentally committing to a grave error? Or, does the problem exist between the keyboard and chair?

That’s when he chose what happened to be a standard congratulatory message on being admitted to the university’s prestigious law school and accidentally sent it to all 7,000 students who have applied for admission to the law school. The problem, which the school quickly admitted, is that all of the applicants won’t be admitted. In fact, there’s only room for 800 to 850 of them. The e-mail congratulated the applicants on their recent “admission” to the school and invited them to an annual reception co-hosted by alumni and several student organizations.

There are affordances we can build into interfaces like these which inform yet do not impede. The first instinct is to throw a modal dialog up on the screen. Why not instead use other visual cues that do not interrupt the user flow? A box with a bright color and some text that warns the user “Sending this email to 7,000 addresses” could be sufficient if enough attention is given the detail.

Posted: 27.02.2006 in DesignTagged Both comments and pings are currently closed. — RSS 2.0

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