New gmail: too much whitespace!

I work for a software company, so I’m generally sympathetic when it comes to updates.  I try really hard to fight the “It’s DIFFERENT. I HATE it” knee jerk response you feel when something you use every day is a little different and it throws you off. The thing is, you can’t say something isn’t intuitive if it’s not new to you.  It’s not “intuitive” to click in the upper right hand corner if you’ve been reaching for the upper left for the past few months.  That doesn’t mean the people who designed it are morons and/or out to get you.

So when these updates happen to me (as they have in twitter, tumblr, Salesforce… and oh gosh, livejournal for oldies like me who remember) I think to myself, “Self, you do not hate this.  You are just not used to it.”

When I saw that gmail was making it possible to preview their new format before the forced switch, I was all about it.  Just get it over with, get adjusted.  It will be fine.

Except…guh.   I don’t hate it.  But it has, I would say, objective flaws.  Scope my email in the old view:

Without scrolling down, I can see my empty Priority Inbox and six messages in my regular Inbox.

In the new view, I can only see my empty Priority Inbox and one email in my regular Inbox.  

And that yellow/cream ad bar is…I don’t know the word.  It floats.  It’s fixed there on my browser.  It stays there when I scroll up and down.  It drives me bonkers.

Additionally, in the new view, when I click reply, it jumps down in a way that makes the Send button not visible/out of field.  I have to scroll back up to find it.

I don’t hate it.  I need to get used to it.  In time, I might even like it better, even though my gut reaction is still, “Nooooo.”  

Granted, I don’t keep my browser windows maximized, and I think most people do.  I can’t, though. I have about…oh, six broswer windows with 5-10 tabs open each

  1. Phone system tabs.  Switchboard, reporting, voicemail, and records
  2. CRM tabs
  3. Internal systems tabs
  4. Partner companies’ systems tabs
  5. Gmail, bank account, etc. Anything personal.  
  6. One IE window with all the stupid stuff that doesn’t work well in Firefox

Plus one or two Excel windows, the occasional Word doc, two interoffice messaging clients, Outlook, company share drive folders, and usually a calculator.  So, across two monitors, my desktop kind of looks like this:

It lets me switch between things more quickly.  And I know I’m not in the majority.  I just want to be able to see the emails in my inbox.  And I don’t that’s too much to ask, Google.  I really don’t.



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