The Design of Software (CLOSED)

A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. Now closed.

The "Design of Software" discussion group has been merged with the main Joel on Software discussion group.

The archives will remain online indefinitely.

Gmail's new delete button

Oh yeah!!  Google added a delete button.  But I'm still clicking on the drop down menu to go to Delete and it's not there anymore.  I would have started using the button eventually but Google decided to correct their mistake and at the same time screw up my week by forcing me to do it the new way.  I know, I'm used to it, almost, but it still bothers me.  And all this talk from Joel about design makes me wonder if it was the right decision to get rid of the drop down menu option and force me to do it the new way.
Sheldon McGee Send private email
Thursday, January 26, 2006
It's so obviously a better solution for the "delete a mail" action, that my action is yes. Discarding the menu item was a good idea. Within 2 days, nobody will miss it anymore.

The deeper reason I think, is that both actions require mouse clicking (even around the same area). So there's not that much of a difference between the old action you were used to, and the new one you have to adapt to.

I think this is what makes this different than, for instance, the ALT+D key combination Joel mentioned in one of his articles. Having to click somewhere when you're used to pressing a key to make something happen is a huge adaptation. Even having to look up the new key combination is too much trouble. But having to find the "delete" button that stares you in the face won't be too much pain for anybody.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Hmmm, that was one "action" too much :)
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Yes, it was the right decision.

Suppose it takes 200 delete operations to learn the new habit, and you experience on average one second of confusion / additional latency while you're learning.

The efficiency that you gain in not operating the dropdown is probably at least a second -- do a Fitts / GOMS analysis; it's much harder to target a dropdown and then sacan-and-select the option than it is to target and click a button. So even though you're confused, the net time it takes you to execute the "delete" command is probably about the same.

Let's say it takes even a little bit longer to find the button -- say a half second. Suppose you've got 5 million gmail users. They spend a total of (200 operations * 5 million people * 0.5 seconds) to learn the new system, which is around 60 total person-days across all users to learn the new system.

Now, for the rest of your life, every time you delete, you'll gain one second of efficiency (probably more if you actually measured it out, but I'm just guesstimating). You'd only have to operate DELETE a hundred times before breaking even, and every time after that, you gain a second.

Moreover, all future users of Gmail who don't have to unlearn the old skill will start out at optimal efficiency, amortizing the switchover expense over time.

Ellen B Send private email
Thursday, January 26, 2006

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
Powered by FogBugz