The recent Android Gmail App is a perfect example of what I'm talking about (see screenshot below). When you open an email to view, Google has moved the Delete action into the sub-menu. In previous versions it was always visible in the main navigation. So they have given these 4 actions more priority:
- Go Back to Inbox
- Mark as Unread
- Move to another Folder
To me it is obvious, that they're trying to encourage the user to Archive instead of Delete. However, almost all of the users I've spoken with have balked at the change, immediately saying they use the Delete action more than all of those.
I've seen this approach with Contact information, when a site will make the phone numbers very difficult to find or behind many layer, in order to encourage other means of support.
With the assumption that Google is trying to encourage (rather harshly in this case) the users to Archive instead of Delete, is this a best practice? Can we hide important items to encourage users to do one thing, when they want to do another?
Hopefully this question isn't ruled as too subjective, because as UXers I know we all struggle with making the users experience what they want and accept changes positively, while trying to be innovative and push new features.