Friday, March 16, 2012

Google Docs

By Nisita Tappata

Although it is a techie world and most of us might be tech savvy; there are a considerable number of users who might not all fall into the same “tech savvy” category.  -Be warned that I use “tech savvy” very lightly.

So lets say you received a document through your Gmail account and you decide to use the view option provided by Google and edit it online.

The points below describe a typical flow: 

After clicking the view button in Gmail, a Google Docs window opens up with the following four options: Save in Google Docs, Edit online, Download original and Share
When a first time user chooses the Edit online button in place of Save in Google Docs, the user is under the impression that the document is not being copied and saved in Google docs.

After the user clicks on Edit online, the document is made available for editing online; allowing the user to edit.
A tool bar is made available for the user in the edit mode. 

Once the user starts editing, the document is automatically saved every few seconds or so.

The user exclaims,
                    Great! It saves the document automatically. Oh but wait, where is it saving?
                    It says,  “All changes saved” but does not specify where?

For a first time user, this might lead to some sort of confusion.

It can be argued that the "All changes saved" notification is misleading, resulting in some users to interpret this as “Oh it’s saved (over-written) in my Gmail attachment where I opened it from”.
Hence the na├»ve user closes the window once completed with the task of editing because of the notification “All changes saved” and returns to their Gmail inbox to open the “saved” file.

The next time the user opens the same previously edited Gmail attachment (expecting the saved attachment), the user will be surprised, confused and definitely not happy with the result.

Yeah! The file is saved in Google Docs and is at users convenience to retrieve it. But when they are not aware of its location how can they retrieve it? Its as good as knowing there is treasure buried somewhere but not having the map.

One might raise a point as “That’s not possible” or “that leads to privacy issues” etc,. but the user is under the impression that Computer science professionals can make almost anything possible so why not this?

Suggested solution:
The simple solution is to add “in Google Docs” at the end of the line “All changes saved” simple and easy; does not require much work. 

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