Hello new look Google!

comments 11

Google reader has changed. Gmail has changed. Let’s all be up in arms about it!

Erm, what? Why? Things have to change to move on. Yes, I understand in Google reader’s case it’s more than just cosmetic changes. The way you socialise on it has changed. But Google are trying to change the way you use them. They’re trying to BE the Internet rather than just a search engine, just an email system and various other disparate entities.

I love the fact they they’ve even, basically, created a whole new Google+ Android app to make it look and function a little bit more like the web-based version of Google+. Just wished there were more people using it. Hopefully there will be with time.

Visually, Google looks a whole lot cleaner for me. I like the clean and airy look it has now. I love that it’s the same colours and look and feel across all of their areas now too.

So for trying to bring it all together, I give Google a thumbs up. I do realise I’m probably supporting Google’s bid to take over the world, but rather Google than anyone else at the moment!


  1. No complaints from me, either! I mean, from my viewpoint, Google massively changed the way I use email now. Gone are the days of archive folders… now it’s labels and the like which makes my email experience so much simpler. Oh, and it’s free! Always a bonus 🙂

    • I never used cloud based email before gmail. I always had my own domain name and used Outlook. Gmail was the ony thing that took me away from that. And Google really. I’ve started using their cloud based stuff a lot more now… just effortless!

  2. I don’t use Google Reader so I don’t have any opinions on that, but I just don’t like the new look of gmail. I’m trying it (instead of ignoring it until I’m forced to use it like I usually do!) but I just don’t like the new choice of themes. I miss the colours I’ve used for years. 🙁 And everything blends together instead of the way I used to be able to see the different areas at a glance (and make out different things without my glasses on from my bed, which I can’t do now).

    I also don’t like the way they’ve changed the menu bar. I understand why they’ve made the changes they’ve made but I’d like the option to customize it a bit. I want words, not icons. I could figure out which word to click if I wanted to check my emails on a morning without my glasses on (being able to use websites without my glasses on is clearly a main marker of how I score a website’s usability!) but all of the icons they’re using now look the same when I’m blind. Like blobs.

    The way they’ve changed the actual layout of the messages is something I like, though.

    • See I’m thinking this is just the first step for Google and I highly, hugely doubt they’ve done any of these changes without any real testing. They rolled out the new look months back, without any of the functional changes.

      I’m guessing that they will allow further customisation down the road. Like you, it’s why a lot of people chose gmail.

      • I’m sure they’ve done plenty of testing, I wouldn’t expect anything less! But have they tested on people who need glasses but aren’t wearing them? I might write to them and tell them to add that to their testing team next time, ha!

        At the moment my biggest problem (apart from not liking icons instead of words) is not being able to find a theme I like, and that’s not exactly earth-shatteringly bad. It’s just slightly annoying. I’ll just keep trying them all out until I find one.

        • I think you should! Perhaps give people the option for icons vs. text. Maybe it could be something someone does in the labs part of gmail. A little hack for people who need it!

          I’ve been in a feedback-y mood today. So far I’ve hit up Pizza Express and Original Source. I’m just seeing if I get any freebies….

  3. I only use GMail. Like Rach I preferred the words that have now been replaced by icons – like her, I could make out the words without my glasses – something I cannot do with the icons. The rollover text for the icons is high contrast to the point where my eyes hurt looking at it, plus I have difficulty reading high contrast since I’m dyslexic. (A common problem for those with the condition.) Which leads me to another irk – I preferred the bar when it was fixed, not appearing and disappearing with the selection of an email; an action I find distracting.

    And on another note: one person’s ‘airy’ is another person’s migraine inducer. I preferred the mail list with less padding around the rows of text than the new version has and I find such an excess of space between text sets off my migraines like woah when I have to read it for more than a couple of minutes. Especially when the space is white. Also, I have enough problems with my hands without having more scrolling to do to read the same amount of text.

    I’m considering setting up a client to retrieve my mail so that I don’t have to use the GMail interface at all, save using another computer, once this is forced on everyone.

    • Like I said to Rach, Google would have done so much user testing before this was all rolled out. And it’s still optional for the moment – I think…

      It’s strange that you should say the airy-ness is a bit of a migraine inducer for you. I’ve read so many reports on how line height and padding in design makes things easier to read, no matter what size the font is – padding is key to making text heavy pages easier to read. I still agree with them on that.

  4. Long comment is long…

    It is still optional – but the point for me is that this is only for the moment, while they gather feedback. Eventually, everyone will be forced to use it whether they want to or not – or use IMAP to port their email elsewhere. Given that they can offer the choice of the two now, I don’t see why this cannot continue to be the case, unless they intend to give people the choice of selecting options from the original interface – in which case I’ll be happy enough if it includes putting the text buttons back. Since I usually use the Google Redesigned add-on, if that continues to use the same spacing as the old version, that won’t be a problem whether Google allows the user to change the spacing or not.

    With reference to headaches/migraines…
    Three things contribute to this:
    1. My eyesight isn’t that great and my eyes are particularly sensitive to light… and pure white (#ffffff) as a shade on computer monitors generates the largest quantity of light. Whilst large amounts of white (or certain bright colours) aren’t great, I find the glare from white is worse when there is significant amounts of white between other much darker elements, such as pure black (#000000) text. (Glare is one of my migraine triggers, as is continued exposure to what I perceive to be bright light – most people’s normal light is too bright for me – which is why I wear sunglasses when I leave the house.)
    2. I have to concentrate harder than the average person to read in the first place, being dyslexic.
    3. My other medical conditions affect my ability to concentrate, and how fast I become tired, all of which vary on any given day. Some days, the required energy just to concentrate on something will tire me out pretty quickly and if I force myself past my limit – something I don’t do unless I have to – this usually results in a migraine.

    Pure white is not a great colour for backgrounds for dyslexic folk, even ones that don’t have light sensitivity issues; I tend to keep pure white paper only for printing anything ‘official’ and use either pale blue or the recycled paper that masquerades as white which is actually more of a pale grey colour for everything else, hence the slightly grey text background on my LJ. Where pure white is used as a background online, especially with pure black text, I generally select the text to read it rendering it white on blue, or copy and paste it to a text editor I’ve set up with colours that are kinder to my eyes and brain. (An aside: ‘high contrast’ white/yellow on black background on websites isn’t great for dyslexia either, in addition to yellow on black being fugly.)

    I find disturbances in the flow of text within paragraphs – such as line spacing above 1.5 or uneven word spacing (‘justified’) – to be distracting and they mean I need to concentrate even harder to read such text for any significant amount of time. I also find that excessive line spacing, especially if the background is particularly bright and the text particularly dark, causes glare that hurts my eyes and makes reading more difficult. This applies to both printed and screen-rendered text, though glare is less of a problem with print.

    Since I tend to read the mail queue like a block of text – to see what needs my attention now, what can wait, what can be safely binned without reading – a lot of Yankees sites have notifications sent on the same address as newsletters, adverts, etc. so I can’t safely filter everything out to be automatically deleted – I found the increased space required more concentration to read than the old one, to be the wrong colour for me (white – which granted might be offset by a different scheme), and to produce more glare than the old one. The transition between it and the high contrast text labels for the buttons didn’t do my eyes much good either. After two minutes I had a headache from the strain of reading just my mail queue to delete unwanted mail. I reverted it and closed my inbox and thankfully it stayed a dull and minor headache all evening instead of developing further.

    I can appreciate ‘airy’ as a design aesthetic – the white space on this blog between elements for instance is well used, even if it is pure white. And none of your elements are particularly dark either – I love that your text is grey btw, it makes reading much easier. However, between rows of text it is just a strain I don’t need and I actively avoid websites that employ what I consider to be too much line spacing. If I really need information from such a site, I copy and paste it elsewhere to read so I can get rid of the spacing.

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