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Author Topic: Gmail annoyances - can they be fixed using add-ons, Stylish and Userscripts?  (Read 3833 times)
IainB
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« on: November 13, 2011, 03:31:06 PM »

Gmail used to have several annoyances and things that really were inefficient/ineffective or just downright ergonomically undesirable.
Slowly but surely, Google improved and tuned the thing, so that Gmail became pretty good and a breeze to use.
And where it wasn't so good, there were add-ons/extensions that you could get (in Firefox and Chromium at any rate) that made it better - e.g., and especially Lifehacker's Better Gmail add-on.

However, if you - like me - consider that with the latest changed and smartened-up Gmail, Google would seem to have completely screwed things up, then help may be at hand for some of us, as the user community starts to fix the screw-ups in Gmail. This help is in the form of:

  • Userscripts (for which you need the Greasemonkey extension and scripts from http://userscripts.org/scripts/ )
  • Style changes - for which you need the Stylish extension and the styles from http://http://userstyles.org
  • Better Gmail (which is a time-saving bundle of userscripts and styles).
  • Maybe some other add-ons/extensions

However, I am having problems getting these to work nicely on the current version of Gmail, and I assume that I am not alone in this.
It is so bad that it makes me wonder whether Google are not doing this deliberately - either as some kind of experiment, or to drive users away - e.g., rather than withdraw/abandon the service as they have been doing with so many of their products/services lately and that they had previously been so "excited to announce...etc." (or similar BS).

So I thought I'd start a discussion to see if we could pool our knowledge/experience to help each other.

Currently I am seriously considering that, if I can't get Gmail to work better and have better ergonomics, then I shall migrate to Hotmail (Windows Live) - which has been seriously improved and looks very nice. But there's the change inertia to overcome if I want to do that, and Google still have not made it easy to migrate so I may be locked in to some extent.
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zridling
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2011, 03:59:45 PM »

...it makes me wonder whether Google are not doing this deliberately

I don't think so. They've upgraded all their UI's across their services (YouTube really blows now). Thus, I think it's a move toward more consistency. Docs looks similar, but hey, still no control over styles! Thing is, without extensions, I don't Google is ever going to jazz Gmail too much. Sure, you can have the new HD themes, but jeez those are annoying.

I do hate that the text buttons were replaced with icons. At least give ME the choice! Also, the bottom row of REPLY/FORWARD/DELETE buttons of each email was removed. So I created a better keyboard shortcut for deletion (at https://mail.google.com/mail/#settings/shortcuts).
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IainB
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2011, 05:45:57 PM »

My responses in bold following your comment text:
They've upgraded all their UI's across their services (YouTube really blows now).
...
Sure, you can have the new HD themes, but jeez those are annoying.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Well, YouTube is arguably the only decent Google interface now, but there's still the bad ergonomics, and all that white which makes you reach for a pair of snow-goggles - all of which is definitely breaking some cardinal rules for good layout design. You could put that down to ignorance, I suppose - they could make bigger mistakes - e.g., Buzz, Wave...     Wink

____________________
I do hate that the text buttons were replaced with icons. At least give ME the choice! Also, the bottom row of REPLY/FORWARD/DELETE buttons of each email was removed. So I created a better keyboard shortcut for deletion (at https://mail.google.com/mail/#settings/shortcuts).
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Yes, I can't understand them mucking about with the buttons/text like that - and that's just more breaking some cardinal rules for good layout design.
By the way, re those missing REPLY/FORWARD/DELETE buttons: I presume that you know that REPLY/FORWARD are now in the reply text field?
But the missing DELETE - that's another mistake IMHO. Even though I don't usually use it, it was handy (good ergonomics). I would usually use the standard "#" key (i.e., Shift+3 key combo) for DELETE anyway.

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dragonmage
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2011, 09:03:35 PM »

It is my  hope that this unified design is in preparation for domain wide user selectable styles. If they make all of their sites conform to a standard then it should make it easier to develop styles to work through all sites. This is totally wishful thinking and I have not bothered to check the source of any of the redesigns.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2011, 11:26:19 PM »

Oh, please don’t get me started...

The Archive/Spam/Delete icons at the top of the message list are terrible - the trash can for Delete is the only sensible one there. And they no longer have matching icons at the bottom of the list so you have to scroll up to the top all the time.

Worst though was removing a few other helpful links/buttons, such as "Remove Highlighting" and "Mark as Read"... Notice they are missing? They're now in a dropdown menu, which totally sucks.

Needless to say, I don’t like the new interface.

Jim
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IainB
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2011, 03:46:09 AM »

@J-Mac:

+ 1 fom me for what you write there.     thumbs up

I am using the Styles I posted about in the OP, but they seem to be so S-L-O-W.
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brotherS
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2011, 03:57:23 AM »

Annoyances? I LOVE GMAIL! cheesy (But I guess you guys are talking about this "Switch to the new look" popup in GMail that's tempting me to click it for a week now, so far without any success)

My responses in bold following your comment text:
They've upgraded all their UI's across their services (YouTube really blows now).
...
Sure, you can have the new HD themes, but jeez those are annoying.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Well, YouTube is arguably the only decent Google interface now, but there's still the bad ergonomics, and all that white which makes you reach for a pair of snow-goggles - all of which is definitely breaking some cardinal rules for good layout design. You could put that down to ignorance, I suppose - they could make bigger mistakes - e.g., Buzz, Wave...     Wink

____________________
I do hate that the text buttons were replaced with icons. At least give ME the choice! Also, the bottom row of REPLY/FORWARD/DELETE buttons of each email was removed. So I created a better keyboard shortcut for deletion (at https://mail.google.com/mail/#settings/shortcuts).
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Yes, I can't understand them mucking about with the buttons/text like that - and that's just more breaking some cardinal rules for good layout design.
By the way, re those missing REPLY/FORWARD/DELETE buttons: I presume that you know that REPLY/FORWARD are now in the reply text field?
But the missing DELETE - that's another mistake IMHO. Even though I don't usually use it, it was handy (good ergonomics). I would usually use the standard "#" key (i.e., Shift+3 key combo) for DELETE anyway.


For increased readability you might want to split up the quoted text instead and reply regularly, it's almost as quick. smiley
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IainB
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2011, 05:00:43 AM »

@brotherS: Yes, sorry.
I was just trying to reply quickly and work around the constipated quoting system on this Board.
For expediency, I'd probably do similarly under similar circumstances in future.
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brotherS
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2011, 06:55:18 AM »

@brotherS: Yes, sorry.
I was just trying to reply quickly and work around the constipated quoting system on this Board.
For expediency, I'd probably do similarly under similar circumstances in future.
Hmm... "constipated quoting system"? Not sure what you mean, always worked flawlessly for me.

Maybe you get slowed down by using the buttons in the editing mode? If needed, I only use copy and paste to chop up quotes in smaller portions.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2011, 01:59:57 PM »

If you prefer copy/paste with bold and colors to show your quotes, you can still do it like that but add the following:

Whatever you want to show as quoted, surround it with [ quote ] before the first word and [ /quote ] after the last word. (Note: I added spaces between the bracket and the word "quote" so that the code would show. Eliminate those spaces when actually quoting something).

For example, if you want to show "Well, YouTube is arguably the only decent Google interface now," as a quote, then do it like this:

[ quote ] Well, YouTube is arguably the only decent Google interface now, [ /quote ]  (without the spaces, remember!)   to get...

Quote
Well, YouTube is arguably the only decent Google interface now,

HTH!

Jim
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IainB
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2011, 09:49:26 PM »

If you prefer
Thanks @J-Mac and @brotherS, I think I do understand how to use the commenting in this Board, but that's not it.

What I mean is ensuring that when you are selecting various successive quotes from someone, it is tedious in the extreme to get the quote string into the quote box as per example following:
quote author=J-Mac link=topic=28656.msg268534#msg268534 date=1321732797

Therefore, it was simplest to pick up the whole nested mess quote and just embed my comments in a different/bold colour.

That's why I wrote:
Quote
For expediency, I'd probably do similarly under similar circumstances in future.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2011, 11:07:27 PM »

No problem Iain. I do find your quoted posts a little difficult to read at times though. But... that's my problem.   Cool

Thank you.

Jim
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brotherS
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2011, 12:18:12 AM »

What I mean is ensuring that when you are selecting various successive quotes from someone, it is tedious in the extreme to get the quote string into the quote box as per example following:
quote author=J-Mac link=topic=28656.msg268534#msg268534 date=1321732797
Hmm.... "get the quote string into the quote box"? I can't follow. smiley When you hit the quote button, it's already in the box, no?

So you could just use copy/cut and paste to edit it from
[ long quote string ]
quoted text
[ / quote ]

to
[ long quote string ]
quoted text part I
[ / quote ]
your reply part I
[ long quote string ]
quoted text part II
[ / quote ]
your reply part II

I have the vague feeling that you are making it more complicated than it needs to be, but I might be totally wrong!  cheesy
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IainB
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2011, 01:15:10 AM »

Oh dear, this is becoming tiresome.
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brotherS
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2011, 01:45:06 AM »

 Grin Nevermind! If you'd prefer to not get this straight, please feel free to ignore us.
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IainB
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« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2011, 03:40:11 AM »

No problem Iain. I do find your quoted posts a little difficult to read at times though. But... that's my problem.   Cool
You find them difficult to read?
I quite understand. I can barely make head nor tail of some of them. That's because some are written by an AHK irrational semantic text generating script that I knocked up over a lost weekend. You just feed in a few relevant words, give it a general direction to take e.g., For/Against/Impartial - and away it goes! It goes through all sorts of permutations.

Some people actually reply to the comments it posts, but there you go, I suppose.
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2011, 05:10:37 PM »

The Archive/Spam/Delete icons at the top of the message list are terrible - the trash can for Delete is the only sensible one there. And they no longer have matching icons at the bottom of the list so you have to scroll up to the top all the time.

I actually like the new placement of archive/spam/delete. I wasn't fond of them replacing the words with icons, but after a few days I finally got used to the icons and the position at the top of the screen. It's much more convenient, IMO, because you don't have to scroll up to the top to press those buttons since they "follow you" no matter how far down you've scrolled. Kind of like how frames used to work in those horrible days of Geocities and Yahoo!.

In the past if you were in the middle of a really long e-mail (or "conversation"), you'd either have to scroll all the way to the top or all the way to the bottom of the page for the archive/delete links. Now they're always right at the top of the screen. No scrolling required. Thmbsup
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zridling
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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2011, 11:41:40 PM »

Yea, like I said, I was so accustomed to reading to the bottom of the message and finding the delete button there. But I simply assigned the letter 'D' to the delete keyboard shortcut and that's better anyway.
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