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Thread: Usability enhancement suggestions

  1. #1
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    Default Usability enhancement suggestions

    Hello developers,

    After having used the demo for just a few minutes I thought I'd post my thoughts.

    1. When adding a new contact I expect my cursor to move from left to right top to bottom when I press the tab key. Currently the form goes from top to bottom left to right.

    1a. In case the developers have their herts set on top to bottom left to right it would be good to highlight each field with CSS as I change the focus. That way my eyes won't be forced to look for a small blinking cursor. Maybe a 2px orange border on the field or change the background.

    2. The "File As" drop down should work just like a regular drop down. That is, when I press tab it should be highlighted so that I can press up and down to change the option. When I pressed tab I expected for the drop down box to open up or be highlighted or something but instead the cursor skipped down to the E-mail box. If you had implemented 1a I would have immediately known my cursor skipped the File As drop down and went straight to the E-mail field.

    3. Make up your mind. Is it Email or E-mail? My vote is for Email and even Google corrects e-mail to email.

    The email section is titled "Email" while each field within that section is titled "E-mail".

    4. In the Email view the New button on the taskbar has a line between the word New and the arrow pointing down. However, the Tag button does not have a line between the word Tag and the arrow pointing down. A bit inconsistent. Same goes for the other sections as well as the button called View that is found to the left of the task bar (and to the right of the section title).

    5. I really don't like the embossed brush metal theme. And the embossed Zimbra logo looks ugly too. How is this usability related? The nicer things look the more likely people are to actually using something even if it's a piece of crap (which so far Zimbra is not).

    6. It'd be nice to be able to adjust the left pane width. The reason I say that is because I am seeing horizontal scrollbars now that the vertical scrollbars have appeared (I've changed to the Calendar view).

    7. Does the helps bubbles that appear over the icons on the far left really need to say "Go to Mail" "Show All Contacts" "Go to Calendar"? How about just "Mail" "Contacts" and "Calendar" (and "Help" and "Options")?

    Isn't it obvious that by clicking one of those icons I will be taken to that function?


    Anyway I've spent enough time with this at this point so I'll have to stop here. I hope these things are helpful.

    So far I'm really liking Zimbra. The main thing I think looks cool is it's ability to recognize patterns (PO numbers, tracking numbers, etc.) and provide information about the matched pattern.



    Chris.

  2. #2
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    Thanks Chris. I'll add a bug for these so that we can take a 2nd look.

  3. #3
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    Chris -- seconding the "thank you". We really appreciate you taking the time to provide the detailed usability feedback....

    Andy

  4. #4
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    Hi chris,

    Thanks for the great feedback. Would like to make a comment on point 4:

    Quote Originally Posted by barophobia
    Hello developers,

    4. In the Email view the New button on the taskbar has a line between the word New and the arrow pointing down. However, the Tag button does not have a line between the word Tag and the arrow pointing down. A bit inconsistent. Same goes for the other sections as well as the button called View that is found to the left of the task bar (and to the right of the section title).
    The line between the word and arrow appears if the button has a function that can be fired by clicking on it versus just dropping down the menu. For example, clicking on the word part of the new button when in email, will take you to the compose view, while clicking on the arrow portion will show the drop-down menu wherin you may select the type of new item you wish to create. Conversely, in the case of the Tags button, there is no action for clicking the button and so no sperator appears and the tag menu is made visible no matter where you click on the button. Seems like we may need to make this more clear in the UI

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdargahi
    Seems like we may need to make this more clear in the UI
    Ahh... I see what you're saying.

    I have two suggestions.

    1. Remove the arrow from the Tag button and simply rename the button from Tag to Tags. Keep the behavior for both buttons the same.

    2. Remove the alternate functionality from the New button and have it simply perform the function within the context of the current view. In the Email view it'll always create a new Email. In the Contact view it'll always create a new contact.

    I'd say a user is more likely (myself included) to click Contacts and THEN click the New button as opposed to utilizing the "sub" function of the New button to create a Contact while in the Email view or an Email while in the Calendar view, etc.



    Chris.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by barophobia
    Hello developers,

    After having used the demo for just a few minutes I thought I'd post my thoughts.

    1. When adding a new contact I expect my cursor to move from left to right top to bottom when I press the tab key. Currently the form goes from top to bottom left to right.

    1a. In case the developers have their herts set on top to bottom left to right it would be good to highlight each field with CSS as I change the focus. That way my eyes won't be forced to look for a small blinking cursor. Maybe a 2px orange border on the field or change the background.

    2. The "File As" drop down should work just like a regular drop down. That is, when I press tab it should be highlighted so that I can press up and down to change the option. When I pressed tab I expected for the drop down box to open up or be highlighted or something but instead the cursor skipped down to the E-mail box. If you had implemented 1a I would have immediately known my cursor skipped the File As drop down and went straight to the E-mail field.
    The widgets (buttons, menus, etc) in our app come from our Ajax toolkit, and don't always act like the equivalent browser widgets. Of course, we want them to act in ways users expect, which includes tabbing. One of the major client projects on our list is a keyboard model, where we could manage tab groups as well as handle keys such as Delete, arrows, etc.

    5. I really don't like the embossed brush metal theme. And the embossed Zimbra logo looks ugly too. How is this usability related? The nicer things look the more likely people are to actually using something even if it's a piece of crap (which so far Zimbra is not).
    People will never agree on what looks "nicer" (though most everyone here agrees that the current look is a big improvement over our previous one which had sharp-cornered blue boxes and was obviously designed by engineers like me). ZCS can be "skinned" by dropping the appropriate files into the "skins" directory under WebRoot. The API for the skin is to define a bunch of containers (as well as a handful of methods) for the pieces of the app to live in. We haven't yet tested a second skin.

    6. It'd be nice to be able to adjust the left pane width. The reason I say that is because I am seeing horizontal scrollbars now that the vertical scrollbars have appeared (I've changed to the Calendar view).
    We used to have a sash there, but ran into some Firefox resizing issues (which are fixed in FF1.5beta). I'll get back to it soon.

    7. Does the helps bubbles that appear over the icons on the far left really need to say "Go to Mail" "Show All Contacts" "Go to Calendar"? How about just "Mail" "Contacts" and "Calendar" (and "Help" and "Options")?

    Isn't it obvious that by clicking one of those icons I will be taken to that function?
    Not to everyone. The point of the tooltip is to make the button's function absolutely clear. There's no real point, eg, to a Reply button having a tooltip that says "Reply". So we went with making even the icon-based tooltips pretty explicit about what they do. With a button that's just an icon, I see your point - the trash can tooltip could just say "Delete", and that's probably enough, same for the app icons on the left.


    -Conrad

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by barophobia
    1. Remove the arrow from the Tag button and simply rename the button from Tag to Tags. Keep the behavior for both buttons the same.
    I feel the verb form "Tag" is more appropriate since it connotes an action (rather than just display). Our button model is for any button that drops down a menu to have a down-arrow. We can revisit whether the vertical line is a useful visual cue to differences in button behavior, or confusing and unnecessary.

    2. Remove the alternate functionality from the New button and have it simply perform the function within the context of the current view. In the Email view it'll always create a new Email. In the Contact view it'll always create a new contact.

    I'd say a user is more likely (myself included) to click Contacts and THEN click the New button as opposed to utilizing the "sub" function of the New button to create a Contact while in the Email view or an Email while in the Calendar view, etc.
    Agreed. It's marginally useful to be able to create a new appt or contact from within Mail, and so on. It's more useful to be able to create a new folder or tag from that menu; as long as we have a "New" menu there we figured we'd give it the same capabilities across apps.

    -Conrad

  8. #8
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    Default More usability comments

    Hi Guys,

    Great product! Another UI issue you may or may not be aware of is that the tab ordering when creating a new mail isn't intuitive (at least to me).

    Here's what I expect:

    1. Start in the To: field
    2. Tab to subject
    3. Tab to message body.

    Here's what I see:

    1. Start in the To: field
    2. Tab to subject
    3. Tab to ?
    4. Tab to search
    5. Tab to ?
    6. Tab to Add CC
    7. Tab to Add BCC
    8. Tab to message body.

    Justin.

  9. #9
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    Default More usability comments

    Oh, and there is no way to move all messages in a folder to another folder. When I imported my mail from Cyrus IMAP using imapsync the sent items folder is put in as a subfolder to Inbox (this is where Cyrus has it). There is no way to select all messages in the folder (that I could find) so that I could move them to the correct sent items folder. I had to set my options to show 100 messages at a time and then drag the mails across in lots of 100.

    Justin.

  10. #10
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    Default UI Suggestions

    First of all, contratulations on the great product.
    Here are my suggestions:
    1 - the borders dividing the various sections of the webmail interface are too thick in my opinion, more space for the more important components of the interface would gain from making them thiner
    2 - In the left panel, it should be possible to minimize the Tags/Searches modules to the bottom of the screen as in Microsoft Outlook Web Access
    3 - The left buttons on the web interface (Email Icon, Contact, etc) should be also a little thinner also
    4 - Dont know if it is a problem specific to my windows configuration, but the user interface is quite slow. When i click on items such as calendar, contacts, or open a email, the cpu usage easily rises to 100% for some seconds. Since I use a Centrino 1,6GHZ with 1,5 Gb RAM, I find this performance quite slow...
    5 - A more specific problem. When I handle a message with really large text content, the performance becomes terrible, taking about 40 seconds with cpu at full load to open the message. And draging the message to a folder is almost impossible.
    PS I use IE 6.02, WinXP SP2 and google toolbar
    Well that's it. I realise that some of my suggestions are based solely on my taste, but anyway I hope they are helpful. And once again, congratulations on the great product.
    Last edited by marciomello; 10-06-2005 at 07:54 AM.

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