An example from the King of the Internet
The other day I was applying for a job using my gmail account. I had written a sweet cover letter, edited it and reviewed it a few times, and hit send. What happened next saved me incredible embarrassment and jumping out of my bedroom window: Google popped up from behind the scenes and told me I was an idiot.
No, do not send anyway.
I attached my .pdf, sent, and immediately went to all other mail clients I could find to see if this was standard operating procedure. It’s not. This is Google going that extra step and holding my hand to make sure I don’t fail at the Internet. I’ve never found a better example of having the users best interest at heart before, and here’s why:
1. It’s important
There are a lot of things out there that try to help you, but don’t really need to. This is all well and good but can get to be too much. We’ve all been on a website and by the end of our visit thought “Come on, I’m not a moron.” Having your hand held when you don’t need it can become frustrating, so when using a pop up you have to make sure that pop-up is needed and will be appreciated.
2. It’s completely user-centric
It exists for the sole reason of making sure you succeed at what you’re doing. There are no ulterior motives, it’s not “helping” you buy more products, it’s just keeping you from being frustrated and embarrassed.
3. It’s unobtrusive
They didn’t go the route of a message displayed to all users. It only pops up when necessary. They know that most people are going to remember to attach their file, so they only whisper to those who didn’t.
A mail client is something that’s hard to be good at. That is, it’s hard to be better than the others. You can simplify your interface, you can put important features in easy-to-find locations, and you can send the actual mail. But e-mail has been around a long time, so differentiating yourself isn’t easy to do. Most people try to add more features on the front-end to make themselves special, in any facet of business, but sometimes you need to step back and think about how you can help somebody who isn’t asking for help. Thanks for having my back, Gmail.