We are in the early process of creating a mail client that would send out email campaigns to thousands of users (Mailchimp would be a similar product to compare) There are ideas and opinions, and one of them is adding an undo options to the mailing.

The owner of this approach convinced that this would raise the confidence level of the users, I'm defending an opposing idea which is adding an extra step that would review the mail content and recipients and ask for final approval.

While my solution adding extra friction to the flow, it also adds a higher level of confidence to the user's activities.

Now everything above is assumptions and we will test these with users but I would like to hear more about the subject, especially the personal opinions.

I use Gmail every day and personally seeing that undo functionality adding more stress in my life. It happened once or twice that I undo the email and edited a few details, but if I couldn't it wouldn't be a disaster either.

On the other hand, I think, when a user sends a bulk mail, the user needs a better understanding of what are she/she about to do.

What are your thoughts? Are there other alternatives?

PS: I read already this question about the same functionality, while I understand the assumptions here I would like to hear more.

5 Answers 5


Your users are not just sending an email to someone they know, they are sending a message to an entire list of people (possibly on behalf of a whole company). This raises the bar on how careful those sending the message need to be.

Canceling implies that you have already started an action, but there is time to stop it. Conversely, undo implies that the action is not final and can be easily reversed.

With that in mind, I think a better approach is to do the review/confirmation, but also offer the option to cancel for a few minutes.

Mail chimp uses a confirmation page, but does not allow cancellation.


Undo feature can help the users to proofread the content if they forgot as per my understating this feature works when you sent an email to 2-3 recipients.

If I want to send an email to more then 1000 recipients, I never take a risk to send an email without proofreading, and at that time, I will do the proofread at least 2-3 times. It will be a better option if the product is showing the preview of the campaign before I send it. 


The main problem I see with offering an UNDO features, especially where bulk-mailing is concerned, is that users may come to rely on it beyond the point that it will still work.

Just about every UNDO feature I've ever seen has a point when it will stop working. Even if this "cutoff point" is fairly well defined (exiting a text-editor that offers UNDO usually throws away the UNDO information; deleting a third email in quick succession on my Android phone's email client prevents UNDOing the deletion of the first email), users may not always appreciate exactly when the cutoff will be reached.

Relying on being able to UNDO will be dangerous if either the cutoff-point is not well defined, or there is a chance users don't appreciate when the cutoff-point occurs.

In the case of a bulk mailer, the only "natural" UNDO period I can think of is if a particular mail-shot has to sit at the back of a queue of other mail-shots, waiting to be processed. The problem here is that you don't know how long the wait will be, and therefore how long an opportunity you have for a final "proof-read" before the ability to UNDO the mail-shot disappears. In the extreme case, there may be no other mail-shots ahead of yours, and processing starts immediately.

One option would be to introduce an artificial delay: guarantee that once the "GO" button on a mail-shot is hit, nothing will happen for at least ten minutes. The problem here is that users who rely on this 10-minute "grace period" in which to perform a final proof-read will get caught out if, for instance, they get called into a meeting, or there's a fire-drill.

Far better, in my opinion, would be to introduce an explicit extra step: the preparer of the mail-shot does all that they need to do and hits "GO". This puts it in a "needs approval" state where it is guaranteed that nothing will be processed until someone (perhaps the preparer; ideally someone different) has had a chance to do a final proof-read and confirmed that everything is, indeed, OK. Only at this point will it be added to any queue of mail-shots awaiting processing.

(It might still be useful to be able to CANCEL a mail-shot that has gone through approval and is still waiting on the queue, but this should be seen as an "exceptional" action to take, and not something to be relied-on).


rethinking redo and undo

From About Face Interaction Design by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, Christopher Noessel, David Cronin

  • Thank you Saptarshi I have this book at home somewhere will check it out :) Dec 2, 2019 at 9:45
  • It's not enough IMHO to just sharing the book's itself as an answer or solely sharing resources since the enquirer needs an opinion or a solution to bringing to this issue specifically. Dec 3, 2019 at 12:14
  • unfortunately you are right its not, but I'm just presenting the dilemma that undo and redo have always been at odds with users mental models and is well captured, its hard to provide a solution without seeing the actual interface UX flow but the it can be tackled in many ways and some critical knowledge behind the dilemma helps.. Dec 4, 2019 at 9:15

I worked with a similar SaaS product and I think the properties undo and review completely different things to consider. As well as I'm with the idea of giving users ability to undo their actions, I'll cover the topic of my experience with former clients with review feature.

Working as a both designer and developer, I talked with many clients whom using the product for years and that was actually the point they come up with their demand.

Briefly, while bulk mailing process, there was a single button giving the user ability to reach and display review of the mail. Users were also able to get these reviews and summaries mailed to their accounts (Strange but were used probably since because they can't display it while they're sending their mails).

Since many of the users wanted to see this review page as a last screen before submitting their mails, I presented another layout letting users being able to display the review as a main component on the page besides summary details.

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