I just got back from helping my grandmother with her computer. We got her an iMac and she uses Apple’s Mail program pretty effectively. Watching her use Mail is a real education in software usability. I’ve written before about some problems she had with mail. Apple has pretty much fixed every problem except one.
If you start composing an Email message and your dialup connection is disconnected while composing, even if you reconnect before hitting send, that email can not be sent. Somehow Mail associates it with the wrong status, caches some sort of stale DNS or status information. The email goes into your outbox and Mail refuses to deliver it, ever. It does bring up a cryptic message when it tries, even though there is no reason Mail could not deliver the message. The solution is to go into your outbox, double click on the email and manually hit send again.
Unfortunately, this is too much for my grandmother. She can never quite remember how to fix this problem. It happens frequently enough to be really annoying, but not frequently enough to learn the work around.
So I went over again today and unconstipated her outbox. She said “Let me write down how to do that.” However, sitting next to the computer were the instructions for doing it from the last time this happened and she wrote it down. I really hope Apple fixes this usability issue in the next OS release.