Though most of the time she sends me card, I often send her one and then give the URL of the card(the one I get via email) via IM. Often I make mistakes that I forget to put http:// in the beginning and she gets failed to open the cart. These things often irritated me specially when she is visiting her mom.
So, same thing happened a couple of days ago when I sent an e-card on her email address. Now I was in trouble because the link I wanted to send via Yahoo! Messenger was not going thru for some weird reasons. I asked her to open Yahoo! Messenger again as it will send notification about new mail which could automatically open the desire email. Anyhow it took 5 minutes to complete the cycle. This exercise made me to think whether email system is really so difficult or its just my wife is being so dumb that she can't figure out a simplest system? For me, checking an email is the most easiest thing to do on Internet and this could be because I am a very old Internet user who have been using it fore more than a decade or I am a guy having degree in Computer Engineering but that is not the case with my wife. Allow me to clear that Internet is not so common in many countries so in my country,Pakistan hence majority have no idea how to use it. What is obvious for me is something which is very difficult for them to operate. So, the question is, are we really using very typical and scientific email clients which non-Internet users can't understand? The answer is Yes. Allow me to explain Why.
1-Login/Registration Mechanism: First of all you need to signup with particular Email service. Usually they ask you so many lame stuff which makes no sense at all. For instance asking my childhood city or about my darling teacher. I mean, Come on! Why the heck one would consider such things as secret that he/she prefers to chose them as Secret Answer? Even if someone makes an account for your wife or for your non-tech savvy parents then every time they have to go thru painful login mechanism.
2- Reading/Writing: As I said above, for many people and societies this would not be an issue but here I am talking about general public of different countries who are not so aware with technology. Even if one gets able to log into system then finding a desired email is not easy either. Specially when SPAMMERS are your friend.
3-Attachments: Now this is something which is too much for them. You are asking such people to open a window, search desired file and then attach and send it?
These are few which I've mentioned here. Keep these in mind one can figure out that postal mail system is way easier than email. It's slow but easier. You get your envelope, open it and read the mail. You know it's yours because you are being address in it. Though there is no security as anyone can open it up but fine, usually it's taken care by most of the people. Heck! even sending sms is more easier than sending email.
So how could the entire process could be made User Friendly for every one? I am not sure but I think that introducing some physical device for each person could make it easier to use for people who never use Internet. Take the example of Square, the mobile payment solution. This is something which could be called revolutionary. Just hook the device with your iPad or iPhone and you got your own POS terminal. So simple. We need something similar as email clients as well because people like to get physical. Having a physical device with option of thumb scanner as your login, one would not need go thru painful process of checking emails. With a built-in scanner, people would not need to exercise typical file attachment process. The most important thing is that those who don't know how to use Internet will have their own email account, the account which they can use more easily. I am not sure how much am I making sense, the point is, we have to come up with solutions which are for EVERYONE rather than few individuals, communities or societies. The reason SMS is more popular and widely used because it's learning curve is very small while this is not the case with email systems.
May be in near future we experience some unique email message system which would not require painful login process and my wife will not need to think much while checking my greeting card.