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

Hey all,

So I finally got around to doing some analysis of the results of the poll. The link was picked up by OMG Ubuntu![0] and was shared by a number of people on the social internest, so we had a good number of respondents. Thanks to everyone that shared it.

Total number of responses: 754
- Current users: 418
- Past users: 205
- Potential users: 102

Chart: <http://goo.gl/ydUIAc>

Comparing responses by considering all responses, vs just current & past users, vs just current & potential users yields similar responses, so I'll just present data from all users. There was some difference compared to the the first 20, which all came from people on the mailing list, which I'll note below.

* What do you think about Instant Search? *

Almost 2/3 of responses reported liking instant search (63%), with 13% disliking it, and 15% saying it depends: <http://goo.gl/k1HN49>

Common reasons for liking it were: "Convenient", "It's what I expect from GNOME apps". Common reasons for disliking it were: "I prefer to use single-key shortcuts", "I rarely search in email programs" and "I prefer shortcuts". Reasons for it depends were: "As long as it doesn't get in the way of other functionality", "Depends on how fast the search is with a lot of mail" and "It depends on how search dependent the application is".

For the first 20 mailing list responses, only about half liked it (53%), and more saying it depends (21%).

* What do you think about single-keystroke commands? *

Opinion was more split about single-keystroke commands (SKC). A bit over one third liked them (36%), under one third disliked them (28%), and a quarter (24%) didn't care: <http://goo.gl/gnq4DS>

Typical reasons for liking them included: "Faster", "I use them in Gmail on the web", "Efficient workflow", "Boost my productivity" and "Vim FTW!". Typical reasons for disliking them included: "Accidents might happen! :P", "Not consistent with other apps" and "Meh, it's not difficult to press Ctrl". Reasons why people didn't care were: "I don't use them" and "Used to using control".

For the first 20 mailing list responses, more said they liked SKCs (53%), while a lot less said they didn't care (16%).

* Have you ever accidentally activated a single-keystroke command? *

About half of respondents said they have accidentally activated SKCs (53%)m regardless of who was considered: <http://goo.gl/ry0JHR>

* How would you feel if instant search replaced single-key commands in Geary? *

A bit over half of respondents would be happy if instance search replaced SKCs (55%), about a quarter (27%) were neutral, while around 19% would be unhappy: <http://goo.gl/l6cbNj>

Reasons why in general echoed why people like Instant Search or why they like SKCs.

For the first 20 mailing list responses, over a third would be unhappy (37%) if SKCs were to be replaced.

There was a bit of a bungle with the survey here - I initially used just an emoticon and some people couldn't see it, since they didn't have the right font installed. I did fix this for latter respondents, and attempted to repair earlier results where in the comments people indicate this was a problem and what they meant, but there were't many that did, and the percentage results for the earlier responses after repair were basically the same as the latter, so I don't think its a concern.

* Discussion *

There seems to be broad popular support for instant search, however there's still a non-trivial number of people who find SKCs useful.

I was mostly interested to know if people actually liked SKCs, and whether people activated them accidentally, both of which seem to be the case. Reasons for Instant Search and against SKC's seems to be mostly consistency, convenience, and safety. These are all good things, and feel like are probably good arguments for not enabling SKCs by default. However, people obviously find SKCs convenient, especially those used to GMail, who we would like to convince to move back to the desktop as much as possible. :)

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?


[0] - <http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2016/08/geary-user-heres-question>

⊨ Michael Gratton, Percept Wrangler.
⚙ <http://mjog.vee.net/>

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