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Like most people, I spend more time in my Gmail Inbox than I do in my Spam folder. But when I do check out my spam folder, I always make the mistake of marking a message as 'not spam' instead of deleting it because of the button placement. In the inbox folder, the 'delete' button is to the right of the 'mark as spam' button. But in the spam folder, the 'delete forever' is to the left of the 'not spam' button. Is this an example of bad UI/UX?

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closed as not a real question by JohnGB, Charles Wesley, Matt Obee, Benny Skogberg, msanford Apr 5 '13 at 2:43

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Per FAQ, the questions of the form “______ sucks, am I right?” are not considered suitable for this site. – Pasha S Apr 3 '13 at 18:25
I agree with you, Delete Forever and Delete buttons should've kept their relative positions. GMAIL is probably using "most frequently used button first" model but swapping their positions is confusing. – Salman Ali Apr 3 '13 at 23:27
@PashaS Disagree with the closing of this question. It's quite clearly a legitimate UI question and not a rant. – devios Apr 5 '13 at 18:26
@chaiguy It could have been a legitimate UI question if asked by a Gmail developer. "You should ask only practical, answerable questions based on the problems you face". Even if we, as a community, agree that it's a bad (or good) practice -- what purpose would it serve? Unless vikram360 makes his own email service, and forgot to mention it... – Pasha S Apr 5 '13 at 20:48
The purpose it would serve is to educate people and encourage discussion. This is the perfect kind of question to learn about principles of UI. Poor examples are an excellent learning device, and analyzing them to explain why they are bad is incredibly valuable. Just because the example exists in another product doesn't mean we can't learn from it, or that it doesn't apply to problems we face. – devios Apr 5 '13 at 23:28
up vote 0 down vote accepted

As Jef Raskin informs us, habits are actually a good thing when it comes to UI, and capitalizing on them is the sign of a good UI.

As Raskin also points out, modes are bad and should be avoided wherever possible.

This is an excellent example of both of these concepts and how they work (or rather, don't) together. By changing the buttons on the toolbar when the user switches to the Spam folder, Google has introduced a mode. Modes conflict directly with habits as you've eloquently captured. Your habit is to click on the toolbar in the location of the delete button, where it usually is. The problem is, because of the mode, that button is not in the same place your habitual behavior expects it to be in.

So to answer your question, yes this is a poor UI as it breaks the habit you've formed in order to use the app more efficiently. The solution is to either introduce the Spam folder-specific options in a way that doesn't introduce a mode, or at the very least put the buttons that are the same between the modes in the same location in each mode.

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