Making Gmail more Elegant
(You can go full screen, and switch to HD)
I’m delighted to report we’ve done two big things…
Wash away the clutter
The first is to make the entire top of Gmail hideable. Just click the up-arrow at the top of the navigation. Don’t worry if you use Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts, it will reappear when you press / to search.
When it’s hidden, you could use our sidebar navigation instead to get around Gmail (just click the cube in the bottom left).
And in conversation, you can hide Gmail’s action bar by clicking the expander-arrows on the end of ActiveInbox’s action bar (HAB).
Make Move-Nexters glide you through your inbox
The Move-Nexter buttons are now configurable in Preferences. It’s definitely best to watch the video to see this, but I strongly recommend ‘Resetting’ them to “Glide Newer To Older (Shift Reverses)” -> which will mean when you click Archive it automatically moves to an older email, and if you Shift-click Archive, it’ll move to a newer email.
Conduct Gmail with your keyboard
(You can go full screen, and switch to HD)
Ok, this is kind of hush-hush… 🙂
We have a very very prototype-stage feature: a whole new way to do keyboard shortcuts.
First, you need to turn it on in Preferences, by checking ‘Use Keyboard Director’.
To start it, press Shift + Space in conversation. Press Enter to make the command happen, or Shift+Enter to chain commands.
Anyone familiar with QuickSilver or Alfred on the Mac will recognise the inspiration! But it’s very rough & ready: it only works in conversation, it has limited options, and it hasn’t been styled yet. Despite all that, we’d really love your early feedback.
This was written by Andy Mitchell
Woah, usability FAIL! This is something you guys REALLY should not have enabled by default! I’ve been trying to figure out for an hour where my search bar and AI labels went, only to *finally* think to check this blog in case AI did something new and different. At the very least, some sort of more visible notice would do wonders. Now that I read your post and understand the feature, it seems great, but you damn near had me smashing my keyboard in frustration beforehand.
You’re right – on first hide we should give a helper popup.
I’m surprised you clicked the up arrow by accident though, I thought it was too subtle for that!
I don’t think I did – I just loaded Gmail and it was up…
Hmmm, I can’t imagine it hiding by default… But maybe on first ever load we should stop it appearing for the first 30 seconds to stop accidental clicks while the interface moves around. Thank you for the heads up!
Seems like I had the same issue with “auto on”
Thanks for letting me know Tim, clearly something has gone awry. I’m looking into it now.
Hi Andy! Is this turned off in 126.96.36.199? Because I can’t use it anymore. Didn’t have a problem with “auto on”, but now there’s nothing to click to hide the Gmail elements.
Noticing the same thing and now that I know what it is I want to have that option. Thank you for asking. 🙂
Same here. I cannot hide the Google search etc. There’s no way to click when I mouseover it
Hey Domagoj, FollowMal and Michael…
Gah, I’m on a bit of a seesaw with this!
Without going too techy: in order to stop the new hider-bar obscuring the search box’s autocomplete dropdown, I changed where it appeared. And that worked perfectly on my main Gmail accounts, but obviously not yours!
I’ve just been able to experience the problem on my personal Gmail account, and I’ve got a fix for it. I’ll quietly release 188.8.131.52 in the next hour. Thanks for letting me know!
Just a FYI – I’ve just released 184.108.40.206. You can force the upgrade from http://www.activeinboxhq.com/install.php, or if you use Chrome, it might be enough to just refresh Gmail.
Oh, and while you’re at it, can you throw a coat of paint on the “Configure Radar” button too, please? It’s handy, but using the default browser button styling makes it stick out like a sore thumb. 🙂
Noted 🙂 The hold up is that I cannot design icons for toffee, but I’ll poke Peter the Designer into action.
I’d suggest removing the “Configure Radar” button and merging this into the rest of the AIB settings during the config overhaul you mentioned in the first video above.
Yes, the “Configure Radar” button is almost humorous in its brash ugliness.
+1! I’ve been going crazy over this for the past hour! I even emailed Google to complain about their new “auto-hide” feature for the inbox tabs. Glad i finally thought it might be AI – and checked the blog… Gah!
Drat, sorry Andrew (and everyone). I’m really not sure how technically it can have happened, but obviously we have a very real problem with this. I’ll try to stop it occurring for anyone else from now on (update to follow).
Thanks Andy. 🙂
Sigh…It’d be nice to have AI5 and be able to join in the conversation….
You most certainly can have it! I’ll sort you out over the weekend, in fact I’ll get everyone still on V4 upgraded if they want to.
Andy..I love you!
What happened to AI5? I had been using it for weeks, and now I have AI4 again. How do I get AI5 back?
I’m on a train to London and the Internet is very wobbly. I’ll check the systems tomorrow, but in the meantime, is it showing you as on Plus on the Gmail account you’re using? If you’re on Free, it currently drops back to V4 (I will change this when it launches properly!).
I’m a Plus user. My account is good for another couple of months (and I expect to renew it).
Ok, I’m in the office and will be taking a look as soon as the tea is brewed!
AI5 is back. Thank you!
I like the keyboard director. I’m a power alfred user and it first my workflow perfectly.
I think Keyboard Director is a great idea; it’s similar to Launchy. Would you change the trigger combination from Shift + Space to something else though? The reason is that some users like me use Shift + Space to scroll up in the browser. Thanks!
Thanks Alex, I don’t think you’re alone in wanting to control how it is invoked. I’ll make sure Tom knows about it, and he’ll update it next week.
This is a great improvement. I absolutely love Activeinbox. I’m wondering if it’s possible to add label shortcuts like the default sidebar of gmail to your own sidebar. And also to make the preference of using your sidebar stick after closing gmail, right now it defaults over to gmails own sidebar when returning and with the topbar hidden I have to switch sidebars often to check different labels…
What kind of label shortcuts do you want to add? We might be able to make it possible?
As of 220.127.116.11, it definitely should stick when you refresh (I just tried it – it was ok here)… are you on the latest version?
I’m on AI5. Your right about the change to AI-sidebar sticking. I was wrong about that. In the regular gmail sidebar I have a number of labels set to “show in labellist” (translating from dutch). Some only show when they contain unread messages, some always show for quick access. Both the label, the assigned colour and if applicable the number of unread messages from that category show. Really the same as the today, action and wating on labels showning in the AI-sidebar. I’d love it if the AI-sidebar would integrate this part of the google sidebar, so if I have labels always showing in the gmail sidebar, they also show in the AI-sidebar…. that would and me having to switch back and fourth.
LOVE the keyboard director and especially the way you implemented it! Very intuitive…. Agree with suggested option to set the key combination that invokes it.
This is good indeed.
May I make 1 request – when I have used the Gmail collapse box to remove the row of Gmail icons, I then don’t have a method to add a label (not everything is a project). So I then need to open the expander box again.
Can the HAB include a label selector?
This is a good point… I could add the Labels dropdown, OR maybe the new Keyboard Director will suffice?
Something about an old dog and new tricks springs to mind.
I just don’t do shortcuts – it’s all point and click for me.
So my preference is that there is a labels option.
Great work Andy & team! Few _minor_ comments:
1 – Unify that hideous “Configure radar” button that is recently added (yet another awesome feature)
2 – Hiding the Gmail logo takes a bit the feeling away. Not sure I would do that. Second to that, is that even allowed? (Also don’t forget the footer ToS/PP too here!) We don’t want this addon to be banned here!!
As an addition for point 1, I would add it in the settings menu of Gmail or move it to the (ugly) settings menu of AI.
Thanks Frank – I think we need to add a few preferences as to what gets hidden (including the logo). I don’t think it’ll break ToS, but if it makes you feel bad then we need to make it optional 🙂
As a first attempt, I just wanted to see if people liked the feature. Now we can start building it out!
PS I know I know, that ‘Configure Radar’ is hideous. Will fix 🙂
I’m on V4, Plus, and my move-nexter buttons are gone…
I’ll look into it… but do you want me to just upgrade you to V5?
I have 18.104.22.168 (is this what is v5?) and the move-nexters are gone as well. Any ideas?
I sent an email and wanted to undo it and clicked on the notification only to have the top navigation magically disappear 🙂
Ah, that is a definite issue (accidental clicks)… I’ll fix that!
The move-nexters appear in the inbox but not when I’m in the overdue list HTH
It seems that for some people, the Move Nexters disappear when you give something a status/deadline. But it’s not affecting me, and I really don’t understand it :/
I’ll drop you an email in a little while to dig into it, if that’s ok.
Sure, I’ll move to V5 (chrishathaway @ gmail . com), though there may be others in my same situation…
I love the Keyboard Director but I don’t know if I’ve missed a step somewhere. I’ve tried different ways of adding a label with a sub-label. KD will add them both as labels but it archives the email as a new and separate label rather than sitting it in the directory beneath the main label.
I’ll let Tom know about this, thanks Angus.
…also, can somebody let me know what the AI icon next to emails in the inbox does?
Sorry if these are simple questions but I’m trying to take information on quickly as I get to grips with V5
Don’t worry about asking at all 🙂
The cube icon is for actioning/deadlining/archiving things straight from the inbox – just click it!
Looks like my comment got lost..:-( Will try to rewrite it:
If I hide the Top Review Bar and the GMail search text entry field, they do not reappear when I type ‘/’ (GMail’s shortcut for search).
Instead, they do reappear when I type a single quote character on my German keyboard layout (that’s Shift and the key that, in EN-US keyboard layout, produces or (w/ Shift) |). This happens even if I’m typing a reply and use the single quote character in it. However, it does not happen if I type the same character using EN-US keyboard layout. Why?
Killer this one “Conduct Gmail with your keyboard”. I love it.
Alred’ish Keyboard Director is awesome. It took some time to get all the other new features, but worth it. You’re making me more and more reliant on ActiveInbox! Now if only I could check non-Google Apps mail using the same interface.