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#thinking-together
Title
# thinking-together
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Mariano Guerra

07/19/2023, 9:24 AM
do you use drag & drop on gmail? why? why not?
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Eli Mellen

07/19/2023, 11:03 AM
My answer is a big old “sometimes” and specifically in relation to the feature that lets you drag attachments on to the composition pane. Drag and drop interfaces have to make different assumptions about visual acuity and motor skills than a lot of other interface elements. If I use them or not often depends on the proximity of the thing I want to drag and drop. If it’s in an open file navigator window or my desktop, such that it appears to be “next to” the composition pane then I’ll often use it. If the file isn’t readily available, though, I usually use the traditional method of attaching a file since it’s easier to navigate to/search for in a file located like macOS’ finder.
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Srini K

07/19/2023, 11:16 AM
I do use it, because speed. • I usually have mac Finder ready to go with the files I need to drag / drop (or they’re sitting in my Recents view in Finder) • The add-file wizard in my browser is cumbersome. First it takes a few seconds to load. Then it may be defaulted to the Downloads folder. So then I have to do step 1 anyway and navigate to the ‘right’ place in Finder
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Mariano Guerra

07/19/2023, 11:35 AM
I notice that both assumed only dropping files, did you notice you can drag mails into tags, tags into mails and so on? 🙂
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Eli Mellen

07/19/2023, 11:37 AM
lol, nope 😂 Today I’ll see if I get any emails and if I need to organize them! Thanks for the revelatory new teaching!
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Srini K

07/19/2023, 2:09 PM
yeah! I sometimes add tags to emails. Honestly tho I try to get in / out of Gmail’s slow, bloated UI in general 😛 so I don’t use tags much in general
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Grant Forrest

07/19/2023, 2:24 PM
Never used the internal drag-drop features. I've explored drag-and-drop a lot in the past and I feel that in order to be discoverable and memorable as an interaction it helps to deal with very concrete object representations. IDK what dragging an email into a tag "is" in the world, I can't imagine doing that with a physical letter and a sticky tag. It doesn't have to have a literal real-world analogue, but the way the software models the objects has to give them a clear physical identity in the visual space (like dragging items to reorder in a list: each item has a physical identity, and you manipulate a direct and visible relationship). To be not just discoverable, but actually useful, dnd has to also be more efficient than a direct interaction. e.g. I could physically understand the action of picking up a tag and dragging it onto an email to classify it, but it's much easier to just press the tag as a button to toggle it. dnd for file attachments hits both of these. I am paperclipping this file from my workspace onto this message, and it's so much faster than digging through file hierarchies to find the file I probably already have open in my file manager.
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Andrew F

07/19/2023, 2:42 PM
Mostly no. When I'm moving emails, it's almost always in bulk, where it's no harder and maybe a little less fragile to use the menu (I think I have done this a few times though). I usually have my web browser maximized, so getting a file browser up at the same time to drag an attachment over is not worth the fiddling with windows that I'm immediately going to undo. Same applies to every other drag and drop file upload, I don't see the appeal.
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Joe Grossberg

07/19/2023, 2:48 PM
Is it just me, or does anyone else on this thread primarily use the keyboard to navigate Gmail?
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Jack Rusher

07/19/2023, 2:53 PM
I use a local email client 🤷🏻‍♂️
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Mariano Guerra

07/19/2023, 3:13 PM
the way I noticed you could do actions on mails by dnd was when I accidentaly clicked and moved my mouse and I saw the ui indicate I was dragging it, I didn't know what I could do with it. Today after I wrote the initial message I tried to see if I could drag a tag to a mail and noticed that you can. I've been using gmail since it was invite only and never knew that was possible 😄
I'm using gmail here because I've asked a more general question before and got no answers but my interest is more general: do you use dnd in the applications you use for something other than dropping a file? do you know which things can be dragged and where can they be dropped?
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Grant Forrest

07/19/2023, 3:25 PM
Trello is a good example of a UX which makes dnd very clear and useful IMO. It's easier for me to drag the card between columns than select a new status. I'm biased, but in my own groceries app I made I always use dnd to categorize items in my list, although I did build an affordance for doing it via dropdown in case people found that cumbersome. I spent a lot of time designing the interaction but I still feel like I have a ways to go before I master making dnd feel natural.
A rule of thumb telling me I haven't got it right yet is that I have to have a tooltip tutorial for first-time users calling out that the interaction exists at all.
I think it's really interesting that the Gmail devs bothered to spend the time to make dnd interactions but never tell the user about them. I wonder if we can ever hit a threshold of dnd support and consistency of expectations to create a cohort of users who just intuitively find and utilize these things without being tutorialed.
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Joe Grossberg

07/19/2023, 4:07 PM
I think it’s really interesting that the Gmail devs bothered to spend the time to make dnd interactions but never tell the user about them
Not just that, but the keyboard shortcuts are disabled by default, one step further than not telling the user about them. Which makes me think it’s an intentional design choice: Perhaps they are intentionally limiting the feature to advanced users who think about “how can I be more efficient with Gmail” and are proactive enough to seek out and enable such a feature? Or maybe it’s the inverse: the Gmail team wants to avoid confusing newbies, who might accidentally activate the shortcuts and have no idea WTH just happened?