What I like and don't like about the new Gmail interface
Google started the rollout of the new Gmail interface yesterday. While the company stated that users would be able to try it out as early as yesterday, it appears that the new interface is on a staged rollout which means that some users may not have access to it yet.
You can check out my initial review of major changes of the new Gmail interface as it helps find out what is new and changed, and how to activate the new Gmail interface right now.
The new interface is available only on request right now and it is possible to go back to the classic Gmail design as well. It is likely that Google will make the new interface the default eventually and remove the option to go back some time later.
In this article, I will focus on the things that I like and things that I dislike when it comes to the new interface.
The new Gmail: like and dislike
While there are certainly differences to the old Gmail interface, the general layout of things has not changed. Search, compose, the sidebar, and email listings are still there and displayed in the same order on the new Gmail.
The new design looks like a new paint job more than a complete overhaul of Gmail; that is good as users generally dislike interface updates that change things around.
I really like the quick actions that Gmail displays when you hover over an email. Use them to delete, archive, snooze or mark as read emails without leaving the email list view.
Quick actions are available in all three "densities" that you can display the Gmail interface in.
While you get similar options (and additional ones) when you check emails, quick actions speed it up if you need to process just a few emails.
You need to use the select option to report spam, move emails, add labels, or use other actions such as mute, marking as unread or not important, or creating filters based on the selected emails.
Direct access to file attachments
Direct access to file attachments is another feature that I like a lot. Gmail displays file attachments in the email list so that you may open them directly without having to view emails first to do so.
The option is only available in the default display density, however. If you select comfortable or compact, attachments are not listed directly in the mail listing (only the indicator that emails contain attachments).
Not designed for smaller windows / screens
One of the things that I dislike is that Google has not designed the new Gmail interface for smaller windows or screens.
If I display the Gmail window on one half of a 1920x1080 display, some menu options are not displayed at all.
If you check out the screenshot above, you may notice that the Settings button is not displayed at all. There is no option to display it other than increasing the size of the Gmail window.
Another issue that I have with the new design is that the font color, dark gray on light gray background, is not optimal in my opinion.
You may not have issues with that if Gmail is displayed in a large enough window, but if you don't, you will notice that Gmail uses a different layout for email lists.
Tip: you can change the text color in the Settings under General.
The right sidebar
Gmail displays links to the Calendar, Keep and Tasks in the right sidebar now. The sidebar is new and it cannot be removed from the Gmail interface. Even if you don't use any of the services or add-ons that you may add to the sidebar, you are stuck with it.
Users should treat the new Gmail interface as a preview. Google may modify it before it is rolled out as the new default interface for the web mail service.
I think that Google needs to optimize the layout further and address at least the width issue as users may not see the Settings icon at all otherwise.
Now You: What's your take on the new interface?Advertisement