It’s very clear from a lot of your feedback – and I readily agree – that we could improve the ‘Archive/Delete/etc. >’ buttons on the Horizontal Action Bar (aka HAB).
However, exactly what is wrong is hard to define. There are many different kinds of minor complaints thrown at it, which include:
- It duplicates Gmail’s own crisply-clickable Archive button: a confusing waste of precious screen real estate.
- The interaction of ‘dropdown on mouseover’ is fiddly, and it works better permanently in the right-hand sidebar (where the ads and People Viewer is).
- The ‘Archive >’ button would work better being first on the HAB for easier access, before the Status buttons
- There should be an option to change the default from ‘Archive’ (e.g. ‘Delete’).
- The ‘<' and '>‘ arrows are confusing, and the user does not know what will happen.
The underlying message is that a fair % of ActiveInbox users do not use the button, and therefore it takes up too much room.
Taking a step back, what was the original intent?
It is part of the Inbox Zero flow: you work the HAB from left to right, adding a Status or Deadline, assigning to a Project or Context, and then clearing it out the inbox and moving to the next message. However:
- We don’t always need to defer it with a Status/Deadline, very often we just want to discard it, so the archive/delete should be the first thing on the HAB.
- When we’re working through non-inbox items (e.g. our Action list), there is no use for ‘Archive’. Just ‘Finish’ and ‘Next’ really matter.
- It reduces procrastination, as the presence of the Move-Nexter arrow gives you the per-message choice to go back to the inbox, or keep progressing through the messages without interruption.
Some ideas for improvements to get us started:
- Go for complete Keyboard Control, where you can apply a Status/Deadline/Project (using Enter to do just one action, and Tab to do the action and then do another one), then use the keyboard shortcut to ‘Archive and Move Next’. Drop the ‘Archive >’ dropdown from the HAB.
- When you mouse over the regular Gmail Archive/Delete/Spam buttons, a hover appears with a button that lets you select to < or > and move on after selection. Drop the ‘Archive >’ dropdown from the HAB.
- Introduce a new row that has a countdown timer and 3 options: Do It, Defer, Delete (and move next). Drop the ‘Archive >’ from the HAB. This might even be a new addon.
- Reduce the size of the ‘Move-Nexter’, so it’s just an icon. When you mouse over it, it opens up all options (Archive/Delete/etc.).
- Make it possible to hold Shift when you click a Status, Deadline or Project, that automatically moves you to the next item. (Or even make this a full time option).
- Move the ‘Archive >’ to the right-hand sidebar (at the risk it might clash with People Viewer, Rapportive, etc.)
- Just keep as is, but increase the clarity/clickability of the buttons with a design refresh.
What would you have done to the Move Nexter?
All thoughts and suggestions welcome – even if they’re off-list. I’d love to know how you use the Move Nexters, how you process your inbox (a story of your day is always useful), and what you’d do if the Move Nexters were removed?