Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How NOT to do email notifications

So in an effort to collect user interface (UI) bloopers, here's a pet peeve of mine.  Google Plus notifications.  This is how they look in the subject line view of Thunderbird.  Look at this awful replication of information.  The From field is telling me who it is from and that it's via Google+.  The last thing I want is the same information in the subject line.

I don't think anyone could argue (in the context of this interface) that the subject line should be anything other than something about the contents of the post - the first sentence perhaps?  The title of an associated URL that was being shared.  Anything to let me know something more about what I might discover when I click through.

Perhaps the problem is that the Google plus notification team hasn't optimized for Thunderbird?  Fair enough - I can see Thunderbird users as a bit of a niche group, perhaps they are thinking in terms of the gmail interface:

It would appear not - exactly the same problem in gmail.  Although to be fair when I haven't searched for Google+ the faded out text on the right hand side does have a small amount of text from the actual post.  Although if we are on search in gmail, why isn't there a sensible way for me to get back to the full inbox other than clicking inbox after a search - if I delete the search term in the box and press search shouldn't I go back to my full inbox?

Anyway maybe these Google plus notifications are designed for viewing on a mobile device?  This is what it looks like on my Nexus:

Come on Google - this is really simple stuff no?  I know I couldn't pass your complex engineering exam, but when are you going to hire me to sort out these UI issues for you ...

No comments: