iPhone Mail App - File Attachment Experience
Apple, like any big tech companies, changes things under our noses, and it often does for a good reason. We might not understand this reason at first sight because it is part of a roadmap that and we can’t see this. Given that I have been Apple user since forever, that I’m in love with their products, support, remote assistance and also in-store experience.
Few days back, I had a new experience in my journey with Apple and it was not a good one. So, I would like to share with you.
I had to send an email to my client and wanted to share some screenshots. I took my iPhone and opened mail app. I started writing inside "a new message screen" and then wanted to attach necessary screenshots. So, I started searching for "add attachment" option. But, I could not find it on the screen.
“Is it gone?” I thought.
I thought I was stupid & not finding it. After all I attach quite often.
“I know how to do it, maybe I’m just a bit clouded” I thought.
I started looking for it. I swiped left and right, here and there, I scrolled to the bottom, I checked on the keyboard. No trace of it.
“Maybe Apple released an update and they moved it somewhere else” (I have automatic updates running).
And I kept looking for it…
At certain point I realized that maybe I didn’t know where it was before. Which either means I never attached and attachment directly from the “New Message” interface before, or it means that I just forgot it's location. Incredible no? Whatever it was, I felt a bit lost along with the button. More precisely, at first I felt stupid, at second I felt clouded, then I felt frustrated.
By the way, after a lot of struggling I had an enlightenment and I "long pressed" the text area: This is what the interface showed me:
I found out that I had to “long press” and then navigate to the second actions-set in order to finally get the attachment option.
1. Bad experience can have big cognitive impact. In this case, my mind totally believed that the button was somewhere else before that moment. This is because we, as users, we are so used to have the attachment button somewhere prominent that I didn’t thought even for a second that maybe I’ve just never tried to attach an attachment from there. Instead I thought they moved it (still not sure about it).
2. If it's difficult to discover a core product feature, then it can lead to painful experience. In this case, I tried the most obvious option only when I ran out of options. And this is not because I’m dumb, I hope so :) I think this was because the text area of an email it is just like the text area of a regular message in iMessage, WhatsApp or FB Messenger. The actions which normally appear "long pressing" these text fields are basic actions on text like “select text” “copy text” “paste text”. After I found out that I had to “long press” and then navigate to the second actions-set in order to finally get the attachment option, I wanted to try “long pressing” on each text area available in my smartphone (iPhone 6s) to be sure it was not me not knowing that this is the way to do it. What I found out is that in “Note” you can insert images in the same way. But this is not the same thing as attaching files in emails. This works when user wants to add an image in a precise part of the body text but it is not the right way to attach attachment in emails. For them I would rather get my beloved attachment button right to the top.
Maybe the reason why Apple doesn't have an attachment button in IOS email client can be find in the new design of iPhone X or in feature releases of IOS, because maybe this is part of the big picture we can’t see... or it is simply #badux.
What can be improvised:
The most important thing about sending emails is to be able to send a text to someone and upload attachments along with it. Many times users send attachments even with no text. I don't think we can disagree on this. So what they could do is just put the attachments button somewhere visible like Gmail and Outlook do.
Thank you for reading. If you find this experience worth sharing then do share with your network.