Thursday, April 6, 2017

Empty Folder Option for Inbox in Office 365 Mail? Really?!

So my CEO calls me and says she needs help—she has somehow sent her entire email inbox contents to the trash, and she can't stop it. I should be clear here that this CEO is very intelligent as both an award-winning business owner and a computer science whiz. In other words, she is far from your average email user.

So what happened?! I rushed to her office to help. She then showed me something I had not seen before: Office 365 now has a context menu option on the Inbox to "Empty Folder". On the INBOX. WTH??? I don't know when this came to be, but it needs to go away immediately.

Options in the context menu on the Inbox under Favorites:
Empty Folder option

Options in the context menu on the Inbox under your name:
Empty Folder option

She was looking to create a subfolder. In her haste, looking at her small laptop screen, she clicked the only thing she saw that said "folder" (right-clicking on Inbox under Favorites). No confirmation. No way to stop progress. And no undo.

And suddenly she got this message, like she had done something awesome:
Congrats! No more email.

Her email was being processed for deletion, getting mixed with years' worth of deleted items.

After she rebooted, we saw some years of email were still in the Inbox, on their way to Deleted Items. So I tried to quickly create a subfolder to rescue these and reduce her sorting burden later. And what did I do? I accidentally clicked that damn "Empty folder" again!! And back to the trophy. This time we had no indication that her mail was being transferred to Deleted Items. They just appeared to be gone.

After a call to Office 365 Support she was able to get confirmation that her emails were in fact sent to Deleted Items, so she has begun the long process of sorting through that mess. Before you judge and start in with the Inbox Zero debate, you should understand that many executives manage their email this way. Especially at small companies. When search works and all their history of client interactions are in one place, why should they spend time they don't have to make their work harder? But that's a debate for a different post...

That is a huge UX fail, Microsoft. I can't think of a single good use case for having "Empty folder" as an option on the Inbox. Especially with no confirmation, no cancel option, and no undo. FIX THIS!

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