Monthly Archives: December 2007

Gmail’s labels need usability improvement

I have been using Gmail for a long time now. I really love using the intuitive design and very good usability. I get about 50+ emails everyday in my personal gmail inbox. I use various filters and labels to sort my emails, but there are times when I have to label the emails by myself, without using the filters. I have more than 25 labels (I guess) and it is difficult to reach to the label starting with ‘P’ or ‘S’. I have to scroll down my huge list of labels, which is painful if I have to label a few emails.

When I was at Googleplex earlier this year, I saw a Google employee had a workaround to this problem. She added ‘_’ (an underscore) in front of the labels she wanted to see on the top. She added multiple underscores to labels depending what position she wanted it to show in the list. This work around is good, but not really a solid solution.

To begin with I would like to see ‘most frequently used’ labels on top. This will make life easier. Although a better solution would be to have an inline editing (think Google Calendar or Flickr) to add tag and as the user starts typing the label, the interface should suggest the labels.

It will be good to see Gmail team to make labeling emails easier!

Sumitr – Yet Another Social Network

Sumitr, a social network, launched recently. Pranav sums it up nicely.

It is good that they are trying something different. Perhaps a hybrid of Orkut and Geni? I like how they use Shahrukh Khan and Sushmita for default avatars. I don’t see much use of it in my life. However, 30+ Indians might see it as a helpful product. The whole element of a ‘parivaar’ connecting with another ‘parivaar’ over the Internet might be what they are looking for in their busy professional lives. They even provide you someone called ‘chote Mian’. It appears he is the family domestic helper on Sumitr. He addresses you as ‘Sir ‘ in the emails.

I think the product has a lot of scope to improve in usability and design. I’ll summarize things I noticed so far.

I can add or invite (using) my wife to join my Parivaar. However, I can’t invite my kids. What if someone has grownup kids who already have account on Sumitr?

A ‘kid’ can be married and live with spouse and children and is given his father or mother’s email address. He/she can change it though.

If I add a ‘son’ he can change his gender to male or female. On a second thought, this is possible, but highly unlikely. It was good to see that Sumitr figured out that my son was now my daughter.

Their ‘Tazaa Khabar’ or News feed is not really transaction based. I added my son, then he converted to my daughter. Sumitr says that I added a son, but shows that I added a daughter.

You can share the uploaded songs with your ‘mitr’ – Copyright violations?

When you create a baazi, if you change the winnings from Karma Koins (you get 100 by default) to Prizes – javascript switch didn’t happen.

They have tag cloud on the right nav. These are collective tags from the whole sumitr network. If you click these tags, they don’t show you anything most likely because the content that is tagged is inside privacy walls. It will be better if they display tag cloud from content where I have permission to view it. At least I can access those pages.

‘Yaadein’ or pictures is good. I uploaded a 12 MB directory and it went pretty well. They do need to work on some of the usability on it.

The whole design gives me a 1.0 feel. Not sure what is it, may be that background.

I don’t see myself using this product at least for now. I’d certainly visit it after a few months.

sumitr-error sumitr-baazi

QuarkRank and QuarkShop

pluggd.in describes QuarkRank and QuarkShop. Here is my take on the startup.

UI: Finally…. I see an Indian site with good usability. A bit AJAX heavy, but UI is nicely done. The site (QuarkShop) is not just yet another collection of scripts tied around some data, but an actual product. The site has a lot of information on certain pages. This can be overwhelming initially, but one gets used to it after playing a bit with the site.

Branding: ‘Quark’ reminds me of Quark Express. I think ‘QuarkShop’ is a nerdy name. Is it intended to be? Not sure. Quark is about 6 elementary particles. Do they have 6 values that they use to get the QuarkRank?

SEO: They know what they are doing!

Content: Content for each product is pretty good for the limited (4) categories they have. They don’t have prices for old models. I guess no one is selling them.

API: They have an elaborate API. If I understand it correctly, QuarkShop is built using the API provided QuarkRank. It seems like they are syndicating everything they know about a product. A lot of good apps can be built using the API. They have suggested a few ideas. Their widgets are nice as well.

Revenue Model: Revenue model for QuarkShop seems to be affiliate earnings from Amazon, Shopping.com etc. However, the links to the price comparison sites are not working at this time. I don’t know what are their plans to monetize the actual API. Perhaps pay as you use?

Product Suggestions:

    AJAX is good, but I think it will be good to have URLs for Reviews, Specifications and Price Comparison something like http://www.quarkshop.com/camera/toshiba-pdr-m81#reviews
    They have a nice feature of comparing 2 products. I tried iPod Touch 8GB and 16GB. I wasn’t expecting the results to vary this much (Though it is good to see the links for comparison).

From my past experience with the product data aggregation, I think it is easier to get and aggregate consumer electronics data. They are focused on only 4 categories at this time, which is good, but it will be interesting to see how they perform as they expand their taxonomy.