Thursday, November 13, 2014

UX is about organization


Google Inbox is certainly not complete.

I miss being able to simply paste images from clipboard. I do want to have more text-formatting options (being especially fond of "quotation" formatting in any kind of software). Speaking of quotes, their detection in replies and forwards is still somewhat wonky in Inbox. And I am scared by a barren "Settings" screen — almost no tweaks or configs. What, Google is becoming like Apple? What a dreadful thought…

But! I love what Google Inbox is, and, even if it makes some things less convenient, I am sticking to it, amazed at the fact that it just "works".

When I first read about it, and then watched not a very helpful demo, I assumed it would be akin to automatic "Spam" folder, just with more folder types. I was afraid it would hide things from me, to make it look simpler.

And it certainly hid some settings, but that's not the point.

I was concerned it would hide some emails. And, while I have a lot coming to my inbox — too much, in fact, — I can't allow a robot to decide what I see and what I don't see. This way I could miss something important, and with my job being a lot about communication — it could be disastrous.

Instead of hiding, it reorganizes.

Actually, it feels like somebody looked into my brain, how I use messages, and for different tasks I have different contexts. It means that at any given time I don't need to see all of the messages in my inbox — I need to drill into groups, like "Work" or "Family", and then I can respond to something immediately, and some other messages I think that I need to look at "later tonight", or "after the meeting on Thursday", and, until then, I don't need to see them anymore.

And I just love the nice touch that messages aren't being read, they're being done. There's palpable satisfaction in pressing that green tick button to say that "I've dealt with it".

So for me the lesson is that good UX approach doesn't mean simply hiding something. It means logically organizing visible data, so that I can quickly reach what I need — while not being distracted by what I don't need at the moment.

I was afraid Inbox would take control out of my hands — yet it actually feels empowering. That's a buzz-word, I know.

PS And yes, I'd like to always see my "Spam" folder too. I don't trust a system to decide what to hide from me.
PPS While you're at it, please allow selecting all messages in "Spam". Thanks ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment