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I'm interested in finding out the most user friendly way to ask a 'yes' or 'no' question via email. I have included an example and a couple of possibilities below.

It's a huge plus if whatever method chosen allows my system to unambiguously auto-parse the "yes" or "no" (or whatever choices there are), so that I don't have to spend time manually going through the replies and manually determine what the user answered. Suppose my e-mail system is sending this to a user:

Dear Mr. X,

We have now reviewed your submission and found that it was excellent. Only a very small portion has been edited, namely this part:

"foog for thought" was changed into "food for thought".

Do you accept our change and wish for us to publish the submission?

Yes / No

The "Yes / No" part, I imagine, would be two hyperlinks, going to https://example.com/actionid=123...&action=yes and https://example.com/actionid=123...&action=no respectively.

However, that requires me to rely on a website, which is not optimal in my situation.

I believe making them respond to the e-mail with "yes" or "no" to be error-prone. If I go that route, they will inevitably respond with "yeah" or "sure" or "okay" or "OK" or other versions, possibly with further comments included. This might mess up the quoting or use non-standard HTML quotes which are not easy for me to remove to extract their actual answer. Sending an e-mail for such a signal does not seem effective.

I remember reading about "e-mail forms", would this be a viable option?

Of course, another version would be to make the "Yes / No" hyperlinks have hrefs such as: mailto:info@example.com?subject=AUTOMATIC%20PARSING&subject=actionis:%20123...

But that would also be finicky at best, confusing many users as they probably don't even know what happens when they click the hyperlink and it opens a new e-mail for sending.

Of course, none of this HTML stuff will be available for the plaintext version of the e-mail. I plan to send both plaintext and HTML versions in each e-mail. I suppose those who have "plaintext only" turned on can be expected to not get scared from seeing long URLs such as:

Yes: https://example.com/actionid=123...&action=yes

No: https://example.com/actionid=123...&action=no

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  • for the implementation part, posting on stackoverflow will be more helpful – harshikerfuffle Nov 26 '20 at 19:23
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For the UX part, you could put buttons/ link buttons and the buttonClick records true/ false, or yes/ no. Google forms could also be an option since the responses from those are recorded in a spreadsheet.

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Of course, another version would be to make the "Yes / No" hyperlinks have hrefs such as: mailto:info@example.com?subject=AUTOMATIC%20PARSING&subject=actionis:%20123...

But that would also be finicky at best, confusing many users as they probably don't even know what happens when they click the hyperlink and it opens a new e-mail for sending.

The most common reaction to an email is a reply to that email, so it's probably the most intuitive route. You could forewarn your users that a click on the Yes / No creates such a reply:

Please let us know if you accept our change and wish for us to publish the submission. Use the buttons below to create a reply to this email.

Yes / No

I'd use full sentences ("Yes, I accept the change" / "No, I don't accept the change") for the titles, and perhaps invite the user to provide a reason for rejection in the body, e.g. "No, I don't accept the change because ...".

Depending on your audience, you might want to indicate that they actually have to send it, just clicking on the button is not enough.

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Personally, I feel that it is not a good idea for users to reply Yes or No via email. If the original submission is very short, e.g. one paragraph of text, I would design the email this way.

Dear Mr. X,

We have now reviewed your submission and found that it was excellent. However, we like to propose a minor update, namely this part:

  • "foog for thought" was changed into "food for thought".

Click Accept Update below to confirm the change.

Accept Update

And the Accept Update button should bring the user to the original page where the submission was done and submitted, giving the user a preview of how the change would look like and allowing the user to do any further adjustments before confirming the submission.

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