The Design of Software (CLOSED)

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GMail's design philosophy is off

It appears that GMail's design philosophy is a little off. They assume that after reading a message you'll generally want to do one of two things: archive it in your vast storage space for future reference, or flag it as junk mail. But this completely misses the mark for the average user.

The average user, like my Dad who ran into this issue, gets a moderate amount of email, the majority of which are various newletters and group mailings that they simply want to delete once they've looked them over. But in GMail, this requires you to scroll to the top of the message, click on a drop-down box, and select the Move To Trash option. Way too much work for something that is done so frequently and that should be so easy. My Dad actually wants to go back to Hotmail because of it. All of the other UI streamlining doesn't make a difference if the design doesn't meet the user's needs.

So, Google - can we please have a delete button?
--Josh Send private email
Friday, April 15, 2005
 
 
Use "Archive" like a delete button. That's what they want you to do. The idea is that you don't permanently delete anything, so you can get back to it later.
JW
Friday, April 15, 2005
 
 
JW is right...
Christopher Hester
Friday, April 15, 2005
 
 
Yeah, they're adding additional space every second.  Why hit delete when you can archive?
MicroISV Guy Send private email
Friday, April 15, 2005
 
 
Because then the archive becomes a huge cache of all of the misc. crap that you never actually want to see again. And eventually you are going to have to spend a few hours going through two gigs of old BS newsletters and weeding out the junk. The archive and search model is cool, but there *is* a place for a delete function. Especially for the average non-techie user.
--Josh Send private email
Friday, April 15, 2005
 
 
can  you use greasemonkey to put your own delete button on there?
i
Saturday, April 16, 2005
 
 
You're not the only one bugged by this.  I use Gmail to read Yahoo groups, and while some posts are interesting and worth saving, others are boring crap that I didn't want to see the first time, let alone ever again in the future.  It's annoying that they don't have a "delete" key.  I've specifically requested it.  Have you?
Kyralessa Send private email
Saturday, April 16, 2005
 
 
Would you be ok with Google keeping copies of the mail even after you deleted it?
Just me (Sir to you) Send private email
Saturday, April 16, 2005
 
 
Well, not deleting mail from GMail is the whole point. They *want* to store your mail. Otherwise they couldn't analyze it, and sell you to other companies for targeted advertisement. You're Google's commodity, and the more info they can get about your interests, the more valuable you become.
ping?
Saturday, April 16, 2005
 
 
But we're talking about e-mail that I'm not interested in.  If they target ads to that, their ads will be less effective.  They ought to appreciate the opportunity to avoid irrelevance.
Kyralessa Send private email
Saturday, April 16, 2005
 
 
Actually, if you have your filtering/labelling set up well, you could just read all of your messages through and then delete everything by label.
KC Send private email
Saturday, April 16, 2005
 
 
Next to each sender's name, there's a "More Options" link. Click that (1.) and among the newly revealed options is the "Trash this Message" link (2.). One less step, and no need to scroll, since the link is right within the message itself.
Wes McGee
Sunday, April 17, 2005
 
 
Yes, but you can type "Y" to archive, whereas there's no key to delete.
Kyralessa Send private email
Sunday, April 17, 2005
 
 
Gmail search is pretty good, so if you have any search-fu at all it is no problem to archive the crap along with the stuff you want, you can easily pick out the good stuff later.

There is also the "starred" feature if you would like to add additional distinction.

I have not tried it, but I imagine you could run a routine purge where you do a search on the archive for everything that is not starred, click the Check All button (whatever it's called) and move the results en masse to Trash.  In this case your archive folder would be something like the Recycle Bin in Windows.
Matt Conrad Send private email
Sunday, April 17, 2005
 
 
I just wish that everything you put in the trash folder stayed there indefinitely (or at least until you run out of space).
Colm O'Connor Send private email
Sunday, April 17, 2005
 
 
I can see their 'don't delete anything, so we can profile you for targeted ads' philosophy. However, a just 'd' key shortcut would be really nice.
NickH
Sunday, April 17, 2005
 
 
I think some people here are missing the points:
1) as mentioned above, if people aren't interested in the mail, when why try to analyze it? they won't be interested in what you have to buy anyways;
2) suppose I have 10 legitimate emails about my house mortgage, and 1000 spam with the same kind of keywords ... this makes my search function nearly pointless unless i know exactly who sent the email
bahen
Monday, April 18, 2005
 
 
Point 2 is invalid because searches don't normally apply to the spam folder and because entries in the spam folder are deleted after 30 days.

Point 1 is more plausible but Google might have (or might someday have) a sophisticated ad selection mechanism that (for example) discounts mailing list messages, gives higher priority to messages that have been opened more often or been open on your screen for longer, gives higher priority to messages that spend more time in your Inbox, gives higher priority to messages that are starred, gives more priority to messages that have been assigned more labels, gives more priority to messages you forward to others, gives more priority to messages to reply to, and gives more priority to messages from people in your address book.

In other words, Google's ad selection mechanism might already adequately handle the case of receiving messages that you're not particularly interested in.
rob mayoff
Monday, April 18, 2005
 
 
That is still no reason to ignore the most obvious clue, delete.
Practical Geezer
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
 
 
I still don't see the problem here... Move to Trash is *1* click more than Archieve! I have _only_ used Archieve, never deleted a message, and I don't have a problem finding whatever email I need. A combination of rules, labels and the google search makes this really easy.

I see you point, but my experience is that, in practice, it is not really a problem. It just works.
Whatever
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
 
 
Next message:  j

Previous message:  k

Archive current message:  y

Check(mark) message:  x

Go back from current message to Inbox:  u

Delete message:  Go ahead, let's see you do it.


Do you get it now?  I read Gmail with the keyboard shortcuts, but there's no keyboard shortcut to delete a message.
Kyralessa Send private email
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
 
 
Anon Send private email
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
 
 
For the stuff you tend to want to delete, just setup a filter that matches it, apply a label to it, and occassionally, delete everything that matches that label.
Ryan Anderson Send private email
Friday, April 22, 2005
 
 
That's more work than deleting.
Kyralessa Send private email
Friday, April 22, 2005
 
 
Now yahoo mail is offering 1 GB storage. And as they provide delete button, you can opt for Yahoo.
Sumukh Send private email
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
 
 

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