Thanks Google: Google Drive Activity Stream

Do you use Google Drive? I definitely do use it more now!  It is the most effective file storage ever. For me, it is a way to create and organize my projects. And some times, it is my publishing tool, too. 

Besides, it is not just about storing. Drive makes group projects easier because everyone can share files and work together.  I have been using it for years, despite the complexity. So, the time came for us to share good news about this complexity. 

Google just announced a new activity stream in Drive showing us what's changed. I found this feature truly helpful and becoming indispensable to anyone who uses Drive. 

 Image from Google Drive's blog.

Image from Google Drive's blog.

But I, as a UX designer, will propose to make it even more useful for a case.  

  1. The Case: When an activity includes big number of file changes it is easy to get lost.  In these cases a user tend to see all items in the activity. The only way to do it is to click "show all" link. However show all opens a big list without seeing the collapse link unless you scroll all the way down to the end of the activity.  
  2. The Problem: If the user is able to reach the end of the activity, she could see the "show less" link.  When she clicks it she lost the context of where she was because scroll gets sticked to position of the scroll bar.

Some Possible Solutions

  1. Rather than current behavior it would be nice to  make the collapsing animated and take the user back to the beginning of the activity. It will save the context (user's understanding of location) problem.
  2. Other solution could be our old and good friend "pagination". As in Gmail email listings, pagination here can safe lives as well.
  3. Yet another, but my favorite among three is having a sticky "show less" link on the side when user expands the list. They could close the link waterfall on the go. This solution should be ideal if applied with solution 1. Look at the sample images below.
  Adding sticky "show less" link on the side is a possible solution to overwhelming number of changes

Adding sticky "show less" link on the side is a possible solution to overwhelming number of changes