I didn’t realise that Gmail’s usability needed improving. But clearly it does because an American company has launched GBoard: an USB add-on keyboard providing shortcuts for the most used Gmail actions.
This 4.88″ x 3.5″ x 0.38″ keyboard offers 19 functions, plugs straight into a USB port, works with Windows and Apple Macs and doesn’t require a software download. Once you plug in, just make sure to turn on shortcuts in Gmail’s general settings.
I knew keyboard shortcuts could be created in Gmail settings. But to be honest, I was ignorant to the many Gmail shortcuts available, most likely because I’ve never felt I needed Gmail shortcuts in my life. I do, however, feel enlightened to the new possibilities for me and my humble Gmail email account.
Each key has a different function, for example, search, trash, reply, reply to all. By dividing the small keyboard into colour co-ordinated sections, it’s easy to navigate and you save time clicking on screen icons; heck, never again do you have to remember those keyboard shortcut combinations.
The layout of the key functions is quite logical. However, you can’t customise buttons to prioritise the functions you use most; if I press ‘Compose’ mail more than ‘Reply’ and decide I would like this shortcut moved to the mini keyboard’s biggest button, it’s tough luck, you can’t.
The short 26” cable also presents a potential problem. The mini-keyboard is fine to sit next to a laptop and be within reach but I’m sure it would be a nightmare for a desktop computer user with their tower unit – and USB ports – under a desk. This would definitely not provide any shortcuts to using Gmail.
Perhaps this gadget is like Phones 4U’s phones for popular people; if you have too many emails and too little time, then $19.99 (around £12) will be well spent on this nifty USB plug-in, helping you to whizz through your emails at breakneck-speed. I’m not sure I receive the quantity of emails needed to make this gadget worthwhile. It does make a colourful desk accessory, though.