Undo Sent Mail

Heuristic : Ease of Error Recovery

Many a times, after sending an e-mail, Users realize that they’ve done a terrible mistake and would want to “UNDO” the same.

Ease of Error Recovery

Thanks to the dynamic client sided validation, one need to type the entire e-mail addresses of recipients and instead choose from a suggested list. This feature also gives room for users to choose an incorrect mail id.

I usually forward certain confidential information from my gmail account to my official mail id. Now, there’s this other Muthu, who has a similar profile as me. Even our initials are the same. I could easily end up sending confidential information to him.

Microsoft Outlook has this “revoke” your sent e-mail feature. But it has its own limitations.

We definitely need an Undo Sent Mail feature. How do we spec it and what changes do we have make in the Messaging Architecture to enable this?

7 thoughts on “Undo Sent Mail

  1. Stumbled upon ur blog somehow, but i get delighted at reading it, particularly this post.
    I dont know whether ur requested feature can be implementable or not. But how abt if the mail sent is supported by pop mail service. The mail downloaded by pop clients cant be revoked.

    Alternatively, ‘cancel mail’ feature, while sending the mail, though the time span is very minute, cld be helpful.

    But mail already sent, i think, cant be able to undo it.

  2. Hi Uma, the usage scenarios need to be flushed out thoroughly and explored with solid user research data. From a technical perspective, like Madhu said, this feature aint feasible, given the available architecture.

    In Yahoo groups, one can edit a message/post at a later point of time, because the message is stored on Yahoo’s servers and that user’s have direct control over it. However, if the messages are subscribed to a specific mail id , the messages are copied on to the recipient’s account. This is when users loose control over their messages.

    Alternatively, one could provide a hook on to every mail that has been sent and check if its been read or not. If the status us “sent” and “unread”, then user’s could get a chance to edit or revoke the same. But this would intrude the privacy of the recipient and would also require recipient’s permission. Sounds complex? Aint it?

  3. Nanba,

    Looks like you have taken up seriously about the double role we play and prank our friends — who end up sending email to the wrong Muthu(Occasionally)

    Good + All The Best and am expecting some confidential(PIN??) details from your end soon 🙂 hahahaha



  4. I have a solution to this problem,

    I am not much technical about web and IT,

    but I can think of a solution or at least best solution for this problem.

  5. I can definitely like to talk on this with one who is technical enough to make the concept work.


    “whatever a human mind can conceive and convince, can achieve.

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