Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Frustrated Ramblings

his is not my usual style, and I don't like posting things like this, but I've spent too much of today irked with various Google products. Below is a version of a post I made to a Gmail Google Group. I could go into more detail and try to get across how frustrated I am that Google is making it more and more difficult to do simple things simply, rather than the other way around. I can't even easily find a basic "feedback on our new product" option anymore, which is pretty disappointing.

Google, what happened? Back in 2004 when we all got Gmail for the first time everything was so friendly and thoughtful, and now I get the sinking feeling that users are being left behind in the interest of a shiny new future. Stop pushing so hard.

So here's a couple thoughts on the trial version of the new compose setup for gmail:

1) I've seen way, way too many people saying "whelp, guess I'll get used to it" about this and other gmail/google changes. This seems wrong: the UI should conform to user needs, not the user to the UI. While some people may prefer this new layout, it's not right for everyone. Which brings me to:

2) Not all messages are going to be short little snippets that should be composed in a mini window, tucked over the inbox, or even popped out. Many people compose complex, lengthy emails and require the space both physically on the screen and mentally by having the new message be the only thing visible.

On top of that, hiding all the controls makes it much more difficult to see what's available at a glance, remember to add links or formatting, and as other users have said, to glance at the send list to make sure a recipients work/home email has been selected.

Therefore, perhaps the new compose could be implemented more like the priority inboxes, as a choice that each user can make and switch between based on actual, personal needs.

More from, ParisLemon (who wants still less), GHacks (which refers to people like me as "advanced users") and some snarky people over here. You get the idea.