It must be Cranky Day today, because I’m not the only one. I forget when I started reading Hanford Lemoore (I think it was one of these posts), but he’s my favorite type of blogger: he doesn’t post that often, but when he does, the posts are insightful and original. Today Hanford posts about two potential snags in the Gmail UI: the “arrow of mystery” and editing subject lines.
Personally, I’ve never had problems with editing the subject line (once you know it’s there, it’s not hard to edit the subject line), but I can shed some light on the “arrow of mystery.” If you turn on keyboard shortcuts (which are off by default), you can use the ‘j’ and ‘k’ key to move the arrow down/up, and ‘x’ to select/unselect. If you’re a Gmail user, the keyboard shortcuts let you handle email without reaching for the mouse. Compose? Use the ‘c’ key. Mark as spam? Use the ‘!’ key. For elm/mutt/pine converts, that’s really handy. More info can be found on the Gmail keyboard shortcuts page.
Could the arrow of mystery be handled a little better? Well, a tooltip would be helpful. I’ll pass the feedback on to the right person.
Update: I’m already hearing back from Gmail UI folks. One thing I didn’t know is that the arrow o’ mystery only appears if you’ve already turned on keyboard shortcuts.