The ergonomic email

We know what an ergonomic chair is. It’s one that is supposed to give us a comfortable place to sit that’s going to promote our health, instead of detract from it over the long term.

In fact, well designed products or services are all rooted in human factors and ergonomics.

We can also tell when something was constructed without any thought on the end user. From the slowly developing metatarsal strain we develop from cheap shoes, to the more immediate recognition of the website-labyrinth that makes us leave frustrated, and without the information we need.

But what about our emails? Isn’t the point of an email to get a message across to another person or group?

We want our emails to be easy to read, yet sophisticated enough to communicate big ideas. And this is where some collapse on themselves.

In an effort to get the idea out, the author makes the message a bit uncomfortable. Not as much as we can really tell, but over time, we start to notice the ineffectiveness of his messages, much like we realize our shoulder pain after it’s too late.

The designer of the chair has a responsibility to make a great looking, comfortable, well functioning chair. We expect that, especially if we’re paying top dollar.

But if your job isn’t to design a chair, but to advance your idea, take the extra time to make certain that the lasting impression we have is not going to result in chronic pain.

Just because it has four legs and a seat doesn’t make it good for your back, just as having some words and a subject line doesn’t make it effective.

Because there’s a chance that eventually we’ll be seeking a different place to sit.
 

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