Re: [Geary] Poll Results: Instant search vs single-keystroke commands

On Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 4:31, Michael Gratton <mike vee net> wrote:
For the next release at least, there won't be any change in Geary
regarding Instant Search, but we should keep these results in mind.
Perhaps in the future, making enabling SKCs a preference might be
worthwhile: For most people, Geary would work like they expect, but
for people coming from GMail or vim, we could actually improve our
support for SKC, making the experience much closer to that of
GMail's, so it's a win either way. Prefs do suck, since Geary should
Just Work?, but this might be a good excuse for having one.

 Thoughts? Questions? Comments?

I am a vim user. I am also one of the survey respondents who preferred Instant Search over Single Keystroke Commands. A large reason for my preference was that I simply didn't use them very much.

After taking the survey, I decided to see what it would be like if I tried to use SKCs as much as possible, to see whether they would grow on me and understand why I hadn't used them before.

Here's what I found (or just skip to the last paragraph for my opinion):

The biggest issue is that SKCs are not a full replacement for your mouse. In order to swap panes, you need to press <F6> (or in the case of people like me who have media keys by default, <fn+F6>. Scrolling a thread or selecting multiple threads requires <up> and <down>. (Honorable mention: deleting a message is <backspace> or <delete>). By the time I take my fingers off the home row and found those keys, I might as well just use my trackpad.

Many survey respondents (myself included) said that "It's not very difficult to press control." That's true... if you're navigating Geary with a mouse. When you're bringing your hands to the keyboard for a single action, there's not a significant different between hitting <a> and hitting <Ctrl-a>. But when your hands are on the home row, you feel the difference much more.

Finally, some of the shortcuts were not what I expected. <d> unstars a conversation while <Ctrl-d> detaches the composer. I'd never expect <Ctrl-s> to be anything except 'save'. After looking at the help again, it's obvious why each of the keys was chosen: they're one of "First letter of the full action", "key to the right of a related action", "remove <Ctrl>", and "what vim does". Honestly, all of those would probably be fine after tweaking a few edge cases, but mixing them like this makes it difficult to predict which paradigm a given command uses, so I basically have to memorize them all.

With the current setup, the only time I found SKCs significantly more useful than their <Ctrl> counterparts was when I was cleaning out my inbox of non-actionable messages, since I could stay in the message pane and use <k>, <j>, <a>, and <del> without taking my fingers off the keyboard (and thus, those are the only SKCs I now use regularly).

In the end, I think that there is a lot of value in SKCs if we provide them with proper support. I agree with Federico that this is one of the rare times when a setting makes sense. I don't know what the gmail shortcuts are (I don't use gmail), but if they have significant conflicts with vim (eg, if d isn't delete) I would (personal bias) make it a 3-option setting so we can support gnome, gmail, and vim shortcuts each to their fullest extent.

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