SmoothSpan Blog

For Executives, Entrepreneurs, and other Digerati who need to know about SaaS and Web 2.0.

New GMail Look Not So Helpful

Posted by Bob Warfield on November 2, 2011

Dang, I’ve got to be hatin’ on Google two posts in a row.  Sorry about that, but things have to be said.

The new GMail look and feel is not a step forward.  I don’t know who did the graphical design, but they’ve significantly lowered the contrast making it harder to use.  In a sea of monochromatic blacks and greys, the important UI bits just don’t pop like they did in the old design.  I find it’s easy to lose track of the “Send” button if I’m in the middle of a long email thread.

It’s interesting that GMail has this problem, because I find the design of Google+ to be excellent.  Google Reader is the only other app I use much after + and mail, and it’s graphical design is fine, if uninspiring.

I suspect Google doesn’t have very many really excellent UI designers, or if they do, they’re not highly empowered.  It’s a land where the uber-Geeks are algorithms and back-end Geeks.  Somehow, schools seem to always teach UI and algorithms/backend/database at the same time–students seem to largely only be able to do one or the other.

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2 Responses to “New GMail Look Not So Helpful”

  1. [...]  I am so excited after having enjoyed Google’s other UI changes recently.  The one where they destroyed the contrast in gmail, making it way less usable.  Or the one where they took out the ability to share in Google Reader to anywhere except [...]

  2. [...]  I am so excited after having enjoyed Google’s other UI changes recently.  The one where they destroyed the contrast in gmail, making it way less usable.  Or the one where they took out the ability to share in Google Reader to anywhere except [...]

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