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Old 3 Apr 2017, 11:08 AM   #1
rnkn
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Mail search UX/UI: no way to move fields without triggering autocompletion

(I've sent this to the FM support team, but figured the forum might be interested, or have a solution )

[REMOVED]

Last edited by rnkn : 5 Apr 2017 at 10:42 PM. Reason: Removed
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Old 3 Apr 2017, 02:40 PM   #2
n5bb
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You haven't described which user interface (web, iOS app, Android app) and if web which browser you are using. I'm away from my PC right now, but on my iPad with Bluetooth keyboard "FastMail.com TAB-key works fine in either the latest iOS FastMail app or webmail in Safari. The Tab key moves immediately to the next fild, truncating the entered text without auto-complete. On my iPhone (without the external keyboard) both the iOS app or webmail in Safari can use the up/down arrows to move to the next or previous field without autocompletion.

My guess it's that with a PC browser you might need to use Shift-Spacebar then Tab. I think this is more of a browser issue than a FastMail issue. I will let you know what I find when I can get back to a Windows PC.

Bill
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Old 3 Apr 2017, 02:45 PM   #3
rnkn
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Thanks, edited to add. It's a desktop issue. Shift-space just inserts a space.

Also, Bill did you read the post? Step 1 is press "/" to focus the search field... all the UI's you mentioned would not pass step 1.

Last edited by rnkn : 3 Apr 2017 at 04:10 PM. Reason: trolling Bill
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Old 4 Apr 2017, 08:43 AM   #4
n5bb
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Arrow Use space character to terminate entry before using Tab or Enter

In the web interface using a PC (latest Firefox browser release), I can do the following to perform the from:fastmail.com subject:test search:
  • /
  • <Enter key>
  • fastmail.com
  • <Space key>
  • <Tab key>
  • <Tab key>
  • test
  • <Enter key>
You can search only for from:fastmail.com using:
  • /
  • <Enter key>
  • fastmail.com
  • <Space key>
  • <Enter key>
So it appears to me that the <Space key> terminates the entry without invoking autocompletion. Training space characters are ignored when creating the search criteria.

You are correct - in iOS the / on a Bluetooth keyboard opens the search tool, but I can't see a way to select Advanced except by touch.

Bill
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Old 4 Apr 2017, 02:37 PM   #5
rnkn
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Thanks for your effort Bill, I appreciate it, but it doesn't really address the original issue, which is a UX problem, as related to UI, not a UI problem. Sorry I didn't really make that clear in the "solution" I meant.

Yes a user can enter "fastmail.com" in the From field then press space to alter the search term and make the assumption that the space will not be included in the search term. Or the user can press shift-space (as you put in your first reply). Or the user can use the mouse to click away then refocus (as I put in my original post). Or the user can type "@fastmail.com" or "*fastmail.com".

None of these are solutions to the UX problem though, which remains: "as a user, once I've entered the search term I want, which key do I press to move to the next field without it altering my search term?"

Here, a UX problem could be reduced to:

1. UI conforms to user expectation
2. UI breaks from user expectation necessitating user intervention (e.g. extra mouse clicks, pressing space, etc.)
3. UI resume user expectation

Ideal UX does not break from user expectation or require intervention on the user's part to solve perceived problems. UI problems can simply be solved by the UI designer saying "no, you're doing it wrong."
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Old 4 Apr 2017, 03:03 PM   #6
n5bb
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I'm curious what you believe the solution to this issue should be. This is a support forum visited by other users, not the Fastmail user support system.
  • Would you like to eliminate the automatic form fill? You would have to remember the exact correct content to enter in the field.
  • Would you like a checkbox to enable and disable form fill?
  • Should there be a visual message which tells the operator what to do?
  • Do you have some user experience you anticipate for a keyboard entry sequence which eliminates auto fill? I don't know of any "natural" expected behavior.
I told you what is natural for me, but evidently it doesn't meet your expectations. What would enhance your experience?

Bill
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Old 4 Apr 2017, 03:08 PM   #7
rnkn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnkn View Post
Ideally the user can perform this search with "/", enter, "fastmail.com", tab, tab, "ticket", enter.
This conforms to web browser's native form selection, and thus preexisting user expectation. Enter/return to select form options, tab to move fields. I'm not suggesting anything new to web browsers here....
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Old 5 Apr 2017, 01:00 AM   #8
BritTim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnkn View Post
This conforms to web browser's native form selection, and thus preexisting user expectation. Enter/return to select form options, tab to move fields. I'm not suggesting anything new to web browsers here....
So, your suggestion is to eliminate automatic form fill (one of the options given by Bill). Usually, your browser does give you that option.
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Old 5 Apr 2017, 03:03 AM   #9
n5bb
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In defense of mkn, I'm not sure if this specific form fill is controlled by the choice of browser and browser settings or Fastmail Ajax code. The choices you get obviously are being pushed from Fastmail. The general issues of auto form fill and autocorrect are a bit controversial, and I also feel that these features are often helpful but sometimes they cause trouble.

My point is that I'm not convinced that there is a certain assumption by most users on what happens if auto fill finds a specific address after you enter "fastmail", then you press the Tab, Enter, or Space key. I find nothing in Fastmail help about this topic, and I'm not sure if the user interface is even consistent. Tab should move to the next field, but should the auto fill value be applied or ignored? You could decide that the Enter key is the only way to use the auto fill selection (made using the up/down keys or mouse), and that the Tab and Space keys leave the characters you actually typed in the field unless Enter had been explicitly pressed. In some use cases this would require an extra Enter keypress before Tab was used.

I will engage Neil (the main Fastmail user experience architect) on this topic. I wonder if there is a clear industry agreement on this topic.

Bill
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Old 5 Apr 2017, 10:42 PM   #10
rnkn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n5bb View Post
I will engage Neil (the main Fastmail user experience architect) on this topic. I wonder if there is a clear industry agreement on this topic.
Please don't. I already have a support ticket and the person responding understood the issue pretty clearly. As I'm not entirely convinced Bill that you understand the issue at hand, this would just create confusion and added work for the FM team.

I posted this thread for the benefit of other who may have run into the issue, not to start a debate about it.
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Old 7 Apr 2017, 01:19 PM   #11
BritTim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnkn View Post
Please don't. I already have a support ticket and the person responding understood the issue pretty clearly. As I'm not entirely convinced Bill that you understand the issue at hand, this would just create confusion and added work for the FM team.

I posted this thread for the benefit of other who may have run into the issue, not to start a debate about it.
With respect, Bill understands more about issues such as these than you, or most other people, ever will.
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