Remove or change 'A' as shortcut accelerator key for Archive feature

RESOLVED WONTFIX

Status

RESOLVED WONTFIX
10 years ago
7 months ago

People

(Reporter: mike, Unassigned)

Tracking

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)

Details

(Whiteboard: [wontfix?][penelope_wants])

Attachments

(1 attachment)

(Reporter)

Description

10 years ago
User-Agent:       Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10_5_6; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.27.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.2.1 Safari/525.27.1
Build Identifier: Shredder 3.0b2pre

The A key should not be used as an access key for the new Archiving feature.  It is far too easy to accidentally hit A, causing mail archival.

Reproducible: Always

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Hit A
2. Note email has now been archived, desirable or not.
3.

Comment 1

10 years ago
I think you should post this request to https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=473212 as well.
(Reporter)

Comment 2

10 years ago
Comment added.
There is still lots of polish work left to do in this feature.  Things like providing visual feedback in the status bar (bug 476487) and an entry in the activity manager (bug 257942) that could allow for undo.

Suggestions for alternatives would be great, but keyboard access is an important part of this feature so we can't remove it altogether.
(Reporter)

Comment 4

10 years ago
Keyboard access is fine - just make it a two key-combo, not A !

Comment 5

10 years ago
While I'm all in favor for keyboard shortcuts (and using them myself rather frequently), associating 'A' with Archive as introduced by bug 451995 may
come as an equal surprise as the former 'G' shortcut (which was removed by
bug 275871 for the reason that it was too easy to accidentally hit it and frequently confused users). I can imagine that the unsuspecting user may be panicking by a message suddenly disappearing when the focus is on the 3-pane
or message window and the 'A' button hit by chance (the Ctrl+Z undo would be
a two-key shortcut, btw.). Similar to the 'G' button, unless you know the feature, it is not obvious what has happened and how to resolve the issue.

In general, I'd assume that single-key shortcuts should only be used for
easy-to-understand tasks, such as navigation (F/B/N) or labeling of messages
as read or starred (M/S). A function such complex as archiving, possibly involving the creation of dated subfolders (would those be subject of an undo as well?), should be made more difficult while retaining a simple-enough shortcut. Note that 'A' is the only single-key shortcut in the Message menu on its top level, everything else has Ctrl+x (Reply Ctrl+R, Forward Ctrl+L) or even Ctrl+Shift+x instead. Since Ctrl+A is already assigned, Shift+A or some other Ctrl+x whould still be available and requires holding down a second key while clicking on 'A'.

Confirming to keep this on the radar, may resolve WFM if another bug obsoletes that shortcut [Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.1b3pre) Gecko/20090203 Shredder/3.0b2pre]. Also, I'm adding "change" to the summary.
Blocks: 473212
Status: UNCONFIRMED → NEW
Ever confirmed: true
Keywords: access
OS: Mac OS X → All
Hardware: x86 → All
Summary: Remove 'A' as shortcut accelerator key for Archive feature → Remove or change 'A' as shortcut accelerator key for Archive feature
Version: unspecified → Trunk
No longer blocks: 473212

Comment 6

10 years ago
While I disagree that "archive" implies "moving" something.
(backing up my HD is archiving, and that copies, doesn't move.)

Windows explorer shift + drag&drop does move files, so that combo would be intuitive for windows users.

Shift+A would be a good change.

Comment 7

10 years ago
Bryan, do you have any opinion on changing that shortcut to Shift+A instead?

I've tried it and it's definitely better. Holding the Shift key down is not much additional effort to archive on purpose but makes accidental initiation
of that function and its rather complex consequences more unlikely. 

(In reply to comment #6)
> While I disagree that "archive" implies "moving" something.
> (backing up my HD is archiving, and that copies, doesn't move.)

Is a bug pending on that? I'd think there are use cases for either behavior, you may want a "move" when archiving for example from a low-quota IMAP account into your local folders, and a "copy" if you want a true backup as a second copy. Thus, maybe this would be best served with a per-account setting.

Comment 8

10 years ago
Created attachment 364691 [details] [diff] [review]
Patch for Shift+A

Here is the patch for comment #7 (in line with comment #3 to look for a replacement rather than removing the shortcut), to keep things moving.
Attachment #364691 - Flags: ui-review?(clarkbw)
Comment on attachment 364691 [details] [diff] [review]
Patch for Shift+A

I don't think this is the correct change right now.  I agree that currently the Archive system is a little jarring as it provides little feedback to what happened.  However I don't think that means we back away from making this an easy task.

I also agree with what you were saying above:
> In general, I'd assume that single-key shortcuts should only be 
> used for easy-to-understand tasks

I'd also likely include 'easy-to-undo'.  Something the Archive command is missing.

I think the Archive feature is easy to understand, at least fundamentally.  The concept of Archive is easy, file away from this view but don't delete.  Even if the code is complex that's not what most people will actually try to understand.
Attachment #364691 - Flags: ui-review?(clarkbw) → ui-review-

Comment 10

10 years ago
(In reply to comment #9)
> I don't think this is the correct change right now.

When would you consider to be the correct time? This easy-to-hit shortcut is currently in beta 2 and will be in the final release unless it is obsoleted or changed. Also, I don't see how changing the keyboard shortcut to something more "safe" prevents any solution with future extensions on the archive feature.

> However I don't think that means we back away from making this an
> easy task.

It is equally easy to archive on purpose with 'Shift+A' as it is with 'A' alone, there is no restriction in utilizing this feature from the keyboard.

Comment 11

10 years ago
(In reply to comment #9)
> 
> I'd also likely include 'easy-to-undo'.  Something the Archive command is
> missing.

Cntrl Z works here - it doesn't uncreate the folder if any was created, but it definitely undoes the move.
(Reporter)

Comment 12

10 years ago
> Cntrl Z works here - it doesn't uncreate the folder if any was created, 
> but it definitely undoes the move.

... only if one *notices* that messages have been archived.  The problem is that it is too easy to accidentally move a message un-noticeably.
Is it any easier to accidentally archive than it is to accidentally Junk by hitting J, or to delete by hitting Del? Yeah, I'm sure there have been people complaining about both of those for as long as they've existed, but A for Archive is intended to be in the same class with them: you get mail, you junk it, delete it, archive it, or go to the Next unread. G for group by sort wasn't bad just because it was surprising, it was bad because it was surprising without being useful: you don't need to toggle group by sort in between every message you read. If your thesis is that moving a message with a single key is bad, then you absolutely need to kill J and with it everyone's ingrained habits built up since 2003.

Comment 14

10 years ago
> (comment #13) If your thesis is that moving a message with a single key is
> bad, then you absolutely need to kill J and with it everyone's ingrained habits
> built up since 2003.

The argument of "ingrained habits" won't hold as this shortcut has just been introduced. As for the DEL button, it's at a very prominent location on the keyboard and has an established meaning, its semantics "delete me!" is more obvious than for the 'A' or 'J' buttons. And yes, I'd consider the 'J' button (as the only other single-letter shortcut for moving messages) a similar case, though it's more difficult to hit accidentally (in the middle of the keyboard) than the 'A' button, which is usually just next to the modifier keys.

> A for Archive is intended to be in the same class with them: you get mail, you junk
> it, delete it, archive it, or go to the Next unread.

The 'N' shortcut for "Next" is navigation, not message manipulation, so those won't fit into this class. Also, why do we have 'Ctrl+R' for "Reply" but not just 'R', same for "Forward" or "Edit as New"? And they have a much easier undo, just close the composition window. Why is "Undo" 'Ctrl+Z' but not 'Z'?

The main inconsistency I'd see here is that "Archive" is the only manipulation function in the "Message" menu not requiring a modifier key, the other single key shortcuts (with the exception of 'J') are for changing flags or tagging.

I still don't see any necessity that "Archive" *must* have a single-key access.
If your argument is that J and Del are okay because of their position, but A is not, then I'd think you would need to somehow explain that (on all my keyboards, the only modifier key that's going to result in slips onto an unmodified A is Shift, and the only reason to be hitting Shift in a 3pane or message window is for a Ctrl+Shift+ command key (or to Shift+Del, in which case you won't be surprised when it goes away, or to Shift+click a button, when you're not typing and thus not likely to be slipping), and I wasn't able to figure any likely way to hit Shift before Ctrl, then slip before hitting Ctrl: is the STR "hit the left Shift with your little finger, intending to hit the right Ctrl with the other hand and then hit a letter key with one of the fingers that have now all been pulled away by having both little fingers on modifiers, but have the left little finger slip before the Ctrl key is hit"?), and I'd think that another single key would be the fix for that, not a modified key, and *certainly* not Shift+A: if A is too easy to hit because you slip off Shift, then Shift+A is even easier to hit, since I accidentally press two keys far more often than I fall completely off one and onto another without hitting them both.

If your argument is that all command keys in a given menu must have modifiers, well, it makes no sense, but the right fix would be to move the Archive menu item to somewhere where it wouldn't fall afoul of that non-rule (though nobody's going to accept a patch to hide a new feature away in a submenu).

If your argument is that you don't see how a single-key shortcut for Archive fits into a shortcut plan for being able to read mail with single keys, space to scroll, then Del to delete if it's trash, J to junk if it's junk, A to archive if you're done with it, navigation if you want to leave it there and move to another, then... I dunno. What are you picturing Archive being for? Something that you go back and do to months-old mail, rather than what we stole it from Gmail to be, which is something that you do with all your mail once you've taken the (reply, nod, visit a web page, whatever) action it requires? Yes, if it was a replacement for manually moving last month's or last year's mail from your inbox, having a modified command key would be reasonable, but that's not what the feature is for. You can certainly use it that way, but it was written to support Gmail/GTD-style "do what you're going to do with it, and then get it out of your face" reading, with the expectation that if you use it at all, you'll be using it for most messages you get. So it does need to be a single key, and the only way around that is to declare that single keys which move a message are too dangerous to allow, at which point ingrained habits *do* apply, because we have one other that has been used since 2003, and a third that's been used since the dawn of time, and you haven't (and I'm pretty sure cannot) made a case that they are significantly different.

Comment 16

10 years ago
So, the bug reporter apparently didn't understand that the purpose of the feature was to emulate Gmail/GTD-style, and was surprised by the result of hitting "A" I must admit, that I was also surprised that "archive" implied moving, rather than copying.
"Zero inbox" will never be in my philosophy. (one look in my garage would tell you that) If I thought that way, I would consider having to hit ANY key every time I read a mail, well..tedious at best.(archive when read, with no other disposition selected, might work)

BTW As far as old habits go, shift+ d&d performs move operations between hard drives in windows. That probably would have clued me that a move would take place.
(Reporter)

Comment 17

10 years ago
Having been a vi/emacs user for around 27 years, I have no problem understanding single key bindings.  Thunderbird is not vi or emacs.  I perceive the primary audience of Thunderbird not to be vi / emacs users.  I'm baffled by the length and nature of discussion on this matter, but I'll leave it now for others to decide.

Updated

10 years ago
Whiteboard: [penelope_needs]

Updated

10 years ago
Whiteboard: [penelope_needs] → [penelope_wants]
(Reporter)

Comment 18

9 years ago
Althought I said I'd leave this, I have to return.  After having hit A many times since my last visit and having items unintentionally moved to the Archive folder, I must beg ! for a change.

Control-A is used so frequently to Select All items, but sometimes the Control key is not registered, so an A is hit instead.  Or, if I'm searching for something that begins with an A and type "/A" but the slash does not register, again, another unintentionally archive.

So, here's hoping for a change to a key binding that is a bit less prone to inadvertent archiving (or a setting to allow me to disable Archive entirely).

Comment 19

9 years ago
Just as an update, bug 482458 implemented the archive features for SeaMonkey, and the patch there opted for Shift+A as the keyboard shortcut without much discussion. Thus, maybe an incentive to think this over for TB 3.0 as well.

Comment 20

9 years ago
On general principle we should avoid new single keystrokes that *manipulate* messages.  Surely we've had this discussion in other bugs, if we hadn't there'd be bare shortcuts all over the place. And if my memory is correct, at least one bare key shortcut has been removed in the past couple years.

shift+A seems an obvious choice and easy to use. I don't understand the resistance.  I don't recall how I hit A, but I've done it a couple times in the past week and I'm sure it will happen again. 

Matt/qualcomm what is the rationale for "penelope_wants" (you didn't comment)?

FWIW I checked the implementing bug 451995 and there are no comments to reference on the choice of keys. 

(ctrl-Z put the message back in original folder, but didn't remove the message from the archive.)

Comment 21

9 years ago
Using SeaMonkey 2.0b1pre on a daily basis, I didn't hit Shift+A accidentally
once since it was introduced. The FAYT non-use case in comment #18 is certainly relevant as you wouldn't hold Shift down while searching.

Comment 22

9 years ago
(In reply to comment #20)

> 
> Matt/qualcomm what is the rationale for "penelope_wants" (you didn't comment)?
> 

That is a way for us to keep track of Thunderbird bugs that we are interested in seeing fixed (may fix ourselves). Many bugs filed against Eudora are valid against Thunderbird as well so we assign to Thunderbird and then add a '[penelope_wants]' to track.

In the case of the bare 'A' we've set Control-/ (Command-/) to be the archive key in Eudora.


Matt

Comment 23

9 years ago
(In reply to comment #20)

> shift+A seems an obvious choice and easy to use. I don't understand the
> resistance.  I don't recall how I hit A, but I've done it a couple times in the
> past week and I'm sure it will happen again. 

I am not an expert, but it seems to me that all shortcut keys should require the use of Control. I am a Mac guy and, while I cannot point to any document that says this, I think it is a Human Interface 'requirement' on the Mac that shortcuts use the Command key. Command plus Shift and/or Option plus the key, but never a bare command for a menu item like that.

Just my $0.02.

Matt

Comment 24

9 years ago
(In reply to comment #22)
> In the case of the bare 'A' we've set Control-/ (Command-/) to be the archive
> key in Eudora.

Given that '/' is the directory/folder delimiter in both Linux and Mac OSX file paths, Ctrl+/ should be a feasible and recognizable alternative.
(Reporter)

Comment 25

9 years ago
That would work for me.

Comment 26

9 years ago
Bryan in comment #9
> (From update of attachment 364691 [details] [diff] [review])
> I don't think this is the correct change right now.  I agree that currently the
> Archive system is a little jarring as it provides little feedback to what
> happened.  However I don't think that means we back away from making this an
> easy task.
> 
> I also agree with what you were saying above:
> > In general, I'd assume that single-key shortcuts should only be 
> > used for easy-to-understand tasks
> 
> I'd also likely include 'easy-to-undo'.  Something the Archive command is
> missing.

shift+A, ala J and shift+J?  :)

seriously though, if this is dearly not wanted, please wontfix.  Can always reopen later if needed.  OTOH if that is not the case, now is the time to change it.

I don't see this fitting the definition of accessibility, so removing keyword.
Keywords: access
Whiteboard: [penelope_wants] → [wontfix?][penelope_wants]
good point, wontfixing this.  I filed bug 511741 for an alternate method, indicating first time keyboard use and explaining what just happened.
Status: NEW → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 9 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
(Reporter)

Comment 28

9 years ago
> shift+A, ala J and shift+J?  :)

Week comparison.  The likelihood of an accidental A seems high.  Ctrl-A to Select All oft-used.  A missed Ctrl ends up moving a message from under the user, when the intent was to Select All.  Ctrl-J is rarely used.  The likelihood of an accidental J seems slim.

The "A" key is too important to bind w/out a modifier.
(In reply to comment #28)
> The "A" key is too important to bind w/out a modifier.

I think this argument for any single key mod is true, yet we use lots of them.  The problem I think needs addressing (in bug 511741) is that the Archive feature takes the message out of view.  If it were unexpected then a user might classified this as data loss, you've lost the message from the existing folder.

But other single key combos are just as problematic.

There are key combos that jump users around unexpectedly.  cmd-n is a common new message combo but if you miss the cmd Thunderbird will jump you to the next mail and mark it read.  Similarly for p and others.

Then there are data loss single key mods like s, r, and m where if a user hits those unexpectedly they have to attempt to figure out what happened or just hope that undo will bring them back to their original state.  Most of the time people who unknowingly hit these keys don't even notice and then find issues later on.

The delete key does a very similar single key mod action but we give it a free pass because it's usually marked "Del" or "Delete" on a users keyboard and so it has a strong association built in.

I think with a minimal "Here's what just happened" notification we'll be able to continue using this key combo.  As people have used the single 'a' command we've received plenty of positive feedback.  However we've also received plenty of OMG feedback as people were surprised the first time it happened... thus these bugs.
(Reporter)

Comment 30

9 years ago
Fair enough.  I'm ok w/511741.  It would be great if a) one could disable the 'a' key, and/or b) disable the archive feature and hide the Archive folder (something I, and I'd assume others, who have complex, rich folder structures already, will never use), and finally c) actually delete w/out complaint or error from TB3 folders under Archives (current has problems deleted any sub-folders).

And Yuck on my grammar-school sp. typo above (week vs. weak).
Duplicate of this bug: 521598

Comment 32

9 years ago
I filed the bug report duplicate mentioned above after not being able to locate this one; I still think there are two big problems here.

One, until the user checks a confirmation to not show it anymore, I think there should be a pop-up warning of what is happening.

And two, this feature needs to be easy to turn off. Archive is great, but I will NEVER intentionally trigger it from the keyboard, and typing a accidentally is not something that should have negative consequences.

Comment 33

9 years ago
The notification and possible pref for deactivating the archive-from-keyboard functionality are handled in bug 511741 now. Given that the string freeze is in effect for 3.0, I'm afraid that more than a hidden pref to disable that won't be feasible for this release.

Updated

7 months ago
See Also: → bug 511741
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