In previous discussions, it’s been made clear that anything we can do to reduce visual noise is a GOOD THING.

Well, it seems that’s not quite true πŸ™‚

In the last release, I tried hiding the Move Nexters that were not applicable, e.g. the Archive button got hidden when the email was archived (normally they’re just disabled).

It generated the kind of discussion in the comments that I love – a lot of very articulate, persuasive reasons why the changes were wrong, which have resulted in me having a better understanding of the different workflows you have. So thank you!

Everything stays very still

The major crime was breaking haptic memory (your spacial memory, that starts to learn where everything is by it’s relative position to something else): when we hid buttons, it re-arranged the entire interface. So, we went back to disabling buttons instead.


But we’ve still made an overall improvement… we now make make the disabled buttons a lot more transparent, so even though they’re there, your eye is not distracted by them – it still feels like there’s less things to focus on.

The ‘Do Nothing’ Move Nexter button is back

The key goal of the Move Nexters is to, well, move you forward through your emails in a single click (e.g. ‘Archive and move next’).

But what happens if you don’t want to do anything to an email, just move on? That would mean having to break your flow, and go looking for Gmail’s [>] arrow. So, we restored the ‘Do Nothing’ button, which lives amongst the other Move Nexters so it’s easy to find.

(FYI If you hide Gmail’s Action Bar, then the Do Nothing button disappears, because it’s really not necessary when the Move Nexters are alongside the [] move arrows).

The Move-Nexters have a more sensible arrangement

This was surprisingly difficult to figure out! I spent at least an hour and half with a pencil & paper trying the feel of different layouts.

Why was it complex? Because it’s full of trade offs… what works if you just wanted to discard an unwanted email is quite different to what would be ideal if you want to archive an email you’ve just actioned. But I think I cracked it:

If you’re just going through email, finishing them or clearing them, then the buttons to do that are aligned to the left-hand side.

And if you’ve actioned/deadlined something, then the button to Archive & move next is on the right hand side, closest to the status/deadline buttons for minimum mouse travel.

Finally, I put the two most important buttons, Finish and Archive, at the two ends, as those are the most memorable positions for easy recall.

The ‘Delete’ Move-Nexter button is now optional

Perhaps I’m old school, but I subscribe to the Gmail ideal that you never need to delete anything.

So, for people like me Delete is overkill – so I made it a preference to reduce the number of buttons.

If you need Delete regularly, you can turn it on by opening the Preferences and clicking ‘Enable ‘Delete’ button in Move Nexters’.

And in other news…

The much hated ‘Configure Radar’ button is gone. See? I’m all ears! πŸ˜‰ The configuration screen now accessible from the normal Preferences.

I fixed a bug in the “label while still Composing” feature, where it wouldn’t work if you used a keyboard shortcut to send the email, or if you used some other extensions. It does now.

And I fixed a bug where sometimes, if you pressed ?, the hidden Gmail header would spring back into view.

Speaking of the hideable Gmail header, it was causing some confusion, so I’ve made the down arrow (used to bring it back) always visible. I also made the entire featur optional.

Categorised in:

This post was written by andymitchell9496

25 Comments

  • sunriseadvantage says:

    I have found that I am having issues with the sidebar disappearing, both googles version and yours.. I can only get it back with a reload, is this a known issue?

  • Stelvio Gori says:

    Andy,
    thanks so much for listening to suggestions and for applying them in this brilliant way!
    All the best,
    S

  • Nathan says:

    Hey Andy, the order of my “move next-ers” is not the same as in your screenshot — right now I have the original version with archive on the left. I have updated and cleared the cache a few times but this seems to still be in the original order. I wanted to try this out before suggesting that maybe this too is an issue with haptic and spacial memory too — because I use Archive a lot, if this changes and I start finishing stuff by accident that’s not going to be fun πŸ™‚ I actually clicked “finish” yesterday in the Action Emails view by accident for some reason — and it was not a fun experience. I was meaning to do an auto select of all emails the way I do in the inbox, oops that’s not a checkbox it’s a checkmark .. and completed all the ones I had selected already πŸ™‚ That’s my fault but just saying it goes to show how easily we get used to position.

    see my dilemma – http://share.activelabs.ca/2013-10-24_10h53_48.png

    vs – http://share.activelabs.ca/2013-10-24_10h52_23.png

    But who knows maybe if this is a better position it will become normal quickly — looking forward to testing.

    Quick question/suggestion — I like the new way to hide the header, what if this had two positions… 1. hide the whole header 2. hide everything but the AIB bar (not sure what you call this) — I like removing clutter but sometimes I’d like to still see the heads up display. See here: http://share.activelabs.ca/2013-10-24_10h56_24.png

    Thanks again for always improving things — we all learn something from your experiments and I can honestly say something always gets better with my workflow as you have a new release. Love the new auto move nexters, I’m getting through my mail more regularly now.

    Nathan

    • Hey Nathan,

      * No New Move Nexters *
      There’s definitely something afoot with the Preferences – I don’t think they migrate properly if you have multiple tabs open (or have multiple people logged into the account). I need to get to the bottom of it.

      Please do give the new layout a fair chance when I get you onto it – I hope you’ll find it acceptable, especially as everything is now in fixed position (so it is learnable!).

      * Hiding the Header *
      As for hiding the header but not the Review Bar… this is the kind of complexity I’m keen to avoid! I did think we could have a tri-state header (show all, show just Review Bar, show nothing); but that will overwhelm most people I fear. I want to keep it very simple.

      And actually, what I’d rather see is our left-hand sidebar improved until it becomes a good replacement for the top Review Bar.

      Header hiding is really only useful for people who are space-constrained, so if you are – you’ll want to minimise everything and make use of the sidebar; and if you aren’t you can keep the whole thing showing (am I wrong? Genuine question!) .

      • Nathan says:

        Thanks Andy…

        * No New Move Nexters *

        Just let me know if you need me to test to confirm, I have tried on a few devices and I am still seeing the old button formation — looking forward to trying it and for sure I will give it a fair shot, I agree with you if they aren’t moving around it’s just a quick retraining the brain and then everything should be fine. I was getting used to the disappearing act but have to admit I think the consistent button placement has an advantage. And I do like the extreme transparency of the buttons that aren’t relevant, although it takes a minute to get used to it — it’s a good visual indicator for example there’s no action on this item yet you better add one, before you archive it.

        * Hiding the Header *
        I definitely understand your thoughts here, and I would agree — I’ll play around with the sidebar and see if I can get used to using it. This might be shocking but I pay NO attention to it right now at all. I focus on the heads up display bar at the top because it’s always there at a glance — the sidebar, for whatever reason hasn’t drawn my attention (maybe it started when I had a dark background on my email and those weren’t legible in that state) but I’m on a white background now so I’ll give that whirl and let you know. My initial feeling is that it takes work to view it, especially on a smaller screen. I like something that’s in my face. I don’t think adding complexity makes sense either though, when you are building on top of enough complexity already and always trying to hit a moving target with that Gmail header πŸ™‚

        I’m on a 14″ ultrabook at the moment so I’m playing around with those settings tonight too — I’m testing a few notebook configurations right now in preparation for a trip so this does help a lot to maximize the space.

        Thanks again!

      • Hi Nathan,

        One thing to bear in mind… Gmail is getting rid of the ‘black bar’ that used to take up space at the top of the view. It’s now got a thinner search bar and our Review Bar. (It happens in some of my accounts, but not others).

        So in fact, the need to hide it isn’t huge from a “save vertical space” pov. I just like it for reducing visual clutter.

        And I hear you on the sidebar – it’s not perfect, yet. I need to make it feel more solid and chunky. It’s fiddly right now.

  • jpnelson40 says:

    I have the problem noted by Nathan above: the “Do Nothing” Nexter is never visible, whether the Gmail action bar is open or not, and whether the Preferences setting is checked or not; I tried all 4 combinations, both on Firefox 24.0 for Windows and Chrome 30.0.1599.101 m which is also the latest. Image attached

  • jpnelson40 says:

    I also now think the transparency of the unavailable Nexter buttons is too great; I can hardly see the green checkmark of the finish button (this is no doubt related to my eyes, which have lower contrast sensitivity than average for medical reasons, but others probably have the same perception). Also, is the Finish status button obsolete if the Nexter button is always present?

    • Ah, I really don’t want to cause trouble for you, especially medical trouble!

      The one question I’d ask is – do you really need to see the unavailable buttons? If they’re unavailable, you can’t click/use them, so why let them demand to be seen (and distract you)?

      The Finish button isn’t obsolete at all, it’s the only button that removes all statuses/deadlines and archives in a single click.

      • jpnelson40 says:

        I like to see the unavailable buttons, I think, because otherwise the almost-blank space calls attention to itself (to my eye), as if I might be missing something, so I think the “grey-out” should be more subtle, I mean more partial. Maybe similar conventions of Microsoft or Apple could be employed (or of the browsers).

        Maybe I don’t understand the Finish function, since I usually don’t use it. But isn’t the Nexter Finish button the same as the Finished status button, but with the pre-configured move to older or newer besides? So why take up space with the Finished button, or is that configurable? After all, it isn’t just another status, though it has a Gmail label as a result.

      • Ah, I see the confusion re: Finished.

        It’s because for most people, Finished (the status) isn’t automatically created – most people don’t have it. (Because it has a few workflow weaknesses, like still being there if someone replies and the conversation restarts).

        So, the Finished button isn’t a duplicate for new users.

        If you’re not using it much, can I suggest removing the !Finished (or S/Finished) label?

  • Ethan Garner says:

    I can’t get any of this to work, no buttons,
    I can’t see the four arrow button, I can’t get radar to work. none of it. Even on fressh installs on browsers.

    any idea what could be wrong?

  • ezdub says:

    Thank you for listening

  • Wekadent says:

    I think it should be possible to hide “Report Spam” Move-Nexter. For me, Gmail is so good with clasifying spam so I never had to use that button. It just clutters the UI.

  • JochenSchuetze says:

    Hello Andy,
    I just need to praise the new arrangement of the Move-Nexters. I first believed I would hate it, but I’ve realised that it’s actually (for me) the best way you could have chosen!

    JFYI, I never see the “do nothing” button (second from right), although the preference “In Move Nexters, hide ‘Do Nothing’ button when you hide Gmail’s Action Bar” is off and I tried both showing and hiding GMail buttons.

    But I don’t miss it all, so there’s no need for a change (for me at least).
    Best,
    Jochen

  • Donal says:

    Thank you very much for restoring this functionality. I can’t do without ActiveInbox and my workflow is fixed again πŸ™‚

  • ToddB says:

    Previous Emails is such an annoying feature. It messes up Cc and Bcc such that when I try to click on Cc, I end up having to click 2 or 3 times to hit it. The button jumps around when I try to click it.

    • JochenSchuetze says:

      I concur, although the mess not that bad for me — I’ve simply deactivated the feature in the preferences and now I’m happy again with AIB. πŸ™‚

  • Jose says:

    Hi! Just as a suggestion… it would be great if the move nexters returned back to the list in case there were no more emails on that list to be processed. At least when you are archiving or deleting emails when you are done with the list it stays on the last message and you have to hit the back button, which is a little cumbersome IMHO.

  • I realize I might get pummeled for this. But, is there a way to Archive and go back to my Inbox instead of the next email?

    • JochenSchuetze says:

      Just press the “Archive” button — either on GMail’s original button bar, or on AIB’s “horizontal action bar”. If that doesn’t do what you want, check your AIB preferences:

      • JochenSchuetze says:

        Somehow the picture didn’t come through, and cannot be added afterwards. Here it is: