GMail User Interface

I really like Google’s user interfaces. Most of them are really good and their search interface changed the whole industry.

There’s currently only one thing I don’t get – the Delete button in GMail.

GMail introduced a Delete button some time in january.

Somehow they messed up their, at this point consistent, user interface. Compare the toolbars of the Inbox, Spam Folder, and Trash Folder:

The Inbox has the Delete button on the right, while the other views have the Delete button on the left. There’s a small difference between Delete at the Inbox and the Delete within Trash and Spam (Delete Forever), but is this a reason to re-align?

Why is it so annoying? I tend to remember the position of the buttons on the various interfaces I work with. Within an operating system all buttons are aligned according to a specific guideline. In different Web-applications it’s usually pretty messed up, but within a single Web-application it should be consistent.

This article was inspired by my clicking on Not Spam button the instead of Delete Forever button the tenth time.

I think it’s a good guideline to put the “most severe” action on the rightmost button, so here is a little Greasemonkey script to align the buttons for you (and me): gmail_delete_button.user.js.

There is a little quirk with this Greasemonkey script: After you clicked on one of these buttons GMail realigns the buttons. I’d be glad if someone had a suggestion…

It’s easier to produce what the customer wants if you ask them rather than guess.
— Kent Beck