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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Like the New Gmail UI? (vortex.com) 137

Earlier today, Google pushed out the biggest revamp of Gmail in years. In addition to a new material design look, there are quick links to other Google services, such as Calendar, Tasks, and Keep, as well as a new "confidential mode" designed to protect users against certain attacks by having the email(s) automatically expire at a time of the sender's choosing. Long-time Slashdot reader Lauren Weinstein shares their initial impressions of Google's new Gmail UI: Google launched general access to their first significant Gmail user interface (UI) redesign in many years today. It's rolling out gradually -- when it hits your account you'll see a "Try the new Gmail" choice under the settings ("gear") icon on the upper right of the page (you can also revert to the "classic" interface for now, via the same menu). But you probably won't need to revert. Google clearly didn't want to screw up Gmail, and my initial impression is that they've succeeded by avoiding radical changes in the UI. I'll bet that some casual Gmail users might not even immediately notice the differences.

The new Gmail UI is what we could call a "minimally disruptive" redesign of the now "classic" version. The overall design is not altered in major respects. So far I haven't found any notable missing features, options, or settings. My impression is that the back end systems serving Gmail are largely unchanged. Additionally, there are a number of new features (some of which are familiar in design from Google's "Inbox" email interface) that are now surfaced for the new Gmail. Crucially, overall readability and usability (including contrast, font choices, UI selection elements, etc.) seem so close to classic Gmail (at least in my limited testing so far) as to make any differences essentially inconsequential. And it's still possible to select a dark theme from settings if you wish, which results in even higher contrast.
Have you tried the new Gmail? If so, how do you like the new interface?
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Like the New Gmail UI?

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  • 'HTML' mode. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ElectraFlarefire ( 698915 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @07:28PM (#56503297) Journal

    'Basic HTML' mode still works for me.. So I'm happy with the UI.. :)

    • by razorh ( 853659 )
      I just discovered this looking at the 'new' gmail. I love it! The only downside is that I've gotten used to having everything split between Primary/Social/Promotions. I can probably do without that to get away from all the cartoony BS.
  • by jemmyw ( 624065 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @07:29PM (#56503309)
    It is so similar to the last theme I'm not sure I'd have even noticed the change. Why is this slight graphics refresh a news story?
    • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

      I think there is some unsend magiks and "cannot print/forward this email" data privacy feature, probably primarily for enterprise/business/premium users

      • by jrumney ( 197329 )
        These features are a scam like many similar features in Outlook/Exchange. Corporate users will get used to relying on them, not understanding that if the recipient is not under Google's control, the "confidentiality" features are useless.
        • not understanding that if the recipient is not under Google's control, the "confidentiality" features are useless

          or if the recipient uses the only usable Gmail UI (ie, IMAP)

        • Re:similar (Score:4, Informative)

          by caseih ( 160668 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @09:26PM (#56503903)

          Actually no, the "confidentiality" feature works regardless of recipient's email address. The recipient simply gets a link that opens in a browser to a site that Google has control over. This does force the recipient to create a Google account, of course, but it need not be a gmail account. And how they expect to prevent the end user from printing out the screen I don't know! If the recipient does use gmail and the gmail web interface then this "feature" is integrated into Gmail.

          • Re:similar (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @11:17PM (#56504295)

            This sort of security measure isn't any more absolute than a lock on your front door. I think it mostly just protects against clueless users who accidentally forwards sensitive documents to the entire company instead of the intended recipients. And a real benefit is to provide evidence that anyone who breaches confidentiality has obviously done so deliberately. You can't really "accidentally" take a screenshot and then forward it to others.

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              The specific threat it is designed to protect against is hacked email accounts. If someone gets into the recipient's email account then they can see every email you ever sent to them, unless it was one of these links to an expiring web page.

    • I was thinking the exact same thing. Then I saw screenshots of what the new UI looks like and mine doesn't look like that. Maybe I'm still using an older version of it.

      • Figured it out. I had to "Try the new Gmail". They didn't automatically force me to use the new UI, that's how it's done folks. I can't decide if I like the new or old better. I have to try it out for a few weeks to get past the change before I can make a true assessment. My criteria is pretty basic. If I get pissed off for any reason then the new UI sucks and I'll switch back to the old.

        • I've switched back. Ultimately it's the speed the of the new UI that I don't like. It seems sluggish. I like simple and plain. I'm glad they give is the option; at least for now.

    • > I'm not sure I'd have even noticed the change

      I posted screenshots and descriptions [slashdot.org] of what has changed. To the untrained eye changes would probably seem subtle -- but the changes stick out like a sore thumb to me.

      > Why is this slight graphics refresh a news story?

      Reasons.

      /sarcasm Because it is the latest shiny from Apple / Google / Microsoft / etc.

    • by afgam28 ( 48611 )

      Why is this slight graphics refresh a news story?

      Because it's more than just a "slight graphics refresh". The new Gmail UI brings in features from Inbox, such as snoozing emails and smart replies, and some new features like "confidential" mode, and add-ons on the right-hand-side (like Calendar, Tasks, etc).

  • Maybe because I wipe out years ago any "tab" other than "mail" and used "compact" view always.

    My gmail is exactly the same as always. No visual change at all.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @07:44PM (#56503393)

    Almost instantly reverted. The new UI wastes so much screen space -- and I'm running in compact mode (in both Classicy and New modes)

    * Tabs (Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, Forums) no longer have a vertical line separating them. You HAVE to mouse over them to see where each button ends.
    * The left column of Inbox, Important, Sent Mail, etc. is wider.
    * The 2nd column which showed the Senders and the number of emails in a thread no longer shows (#) but just the # number by itself.
    * The middle columns are now less wide
    * A new right column which shows vertical icons of Calendar, Keep, Tasks now wastes space
    * The number of lines in the Inbox is now less due to the spacing between threads being increased.

    Lauren Weinstein is a corporate shill who thinks ad blockers are unethical [google.com] :

    For the record, I don't run any ad blockers. Basically, I consider them unethical

    /sarcasm Who knew that going to the bathroom during an ad is "unethical" !

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @07:59PM (#56503483)

      We have monochrome designs where we previously had full colour designs (Android, etc) with all the associated loss of valuable information.

      We have flat designs where we can't see what's clickable.

      We have thinner fonts and lines which are harder to read unless you have perfect vision.

      Why isn't there massive pushback from all these changes which reduce usability instead of enhancing it ?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @08:58PM (#56503791)

        Why isn't there massive pushback from all these changes which reduce usability instead of enhancing it ?

        Because modern UI design is a crypto-fascist plot. Think about it. Have you ever met a UI designer? No one has. They don't exist.

        UI tweaks are a control mechanism. The NSA, working with MI6 and former KGB expats, have infiltrated Silicon Valley. Internet is the new mass media. Control the internet population and you control the world.

        These UI changes are part of a long game to degrade people's ability to absorb accurate information. Pretty soon everything will be eggshell colored text on an ivory background. At that point, who's to say who is right? Fake news, real news, it all reads the same when everything is illegible. The CIA wins.

        There is a resistance movement. We render everything as green text on a black background, just as god intended. Our callsign is ][. Look for us in the dark places on the interwebs, where mortals fear to tread.

      • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @09:50PM (#56504003)

        You forgot:

        We now have light gray on white visual elements, because high contrast, easy to spot UI elements are so gauche.

        We have mystery meat navigation elements (text doesn't show up until you mouse over), because even though designers 15 years ago figured out that was bad, a new generation apparently has to relearn the same lessons.

        Sigh... Generally speaking, the new UI looks prettier and more professional / polished (the old UI was admittedly ugly), but it actually looks slightly less usable to me. It's a shame we can't get both.

        • You forgot:

          We now have light gray on white visual elements, because high contrast, easy to spot UI elements are so gauche.

          We have mystery meat navigation elements (text doesn't show up until you mouse over), because even though designers 15 years ago figured out that was bad, a new generation apparently has to relearn the same lessons.

          And it will be harder for them to learn it.

          Designers in the 80's and 90's had to give people a reason to use their software, which meant it HAD to be easy to use, it HAD to make sense, and it HAD to convince the money men so business workflow needed to be the core selling point. UIs were still just as likely to be done by programmers as they were by artists who were only then making the migration to DTP software, but had made a career out of doing things by hand. Finally, the lack of broadband meant ship-th

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        We have thinner fonts and lines which are harder to read unless you have perfect vision.

        The first thing I noticed about the new Gmail is that the fonts are heavier weight than the old ones.

        We have flat designs where we can't see what's clickable.

        This is a consequence of touch interfaces. When browsing the web on a phone you only have a big fat finger, no precision single pixel pointer, so all the hit boxes have to be enlarged. This people have become used to tapping in the general area of what they want and not worrying about hitting it precisely. Making the user try to aim at a visible hit box is considered bad now.

        Unfortunately this does lead to C

      • So true. UI and UX was pretty much figured out around 1999, and the website useit.com (now defunct) by Jakob Neilson and others was the go to for articles and research for web design. How the fuck has it gone downhill since? Fucking bullshit.
        • Almost all American software has declined in quality since that period.

          Probably due to tech brain drain. Because of the massive drop in inflation-adjusted pay, and ensuing proletarianization of the tech industry. Facilitated by the H1-B program. And inbred venture capitalist twats spending QE money on thousands of loss-making "startups", who see their users as products to be sold, not customers to be served.

          Remember - if you hate America, and want to see even more Americans impoverished - then we need to

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I tried it on Firefox. It froze for a few seconds, I tried to revert but the menu wasn't responding to my clicks. I F5'd and got to intro popup again, accidentally clicked an email. It froze again, then I disabled it. That pretty much killed my willingness to even try it out.

    • by bugi ( 8479 )

      Also:

      * High contrast theme is even less high contrast than the prior iteration. In the list of emails, read emails have a slight grey tinge compared to the blinding white of unread emails.

      * Zooming to 200% changes the list of emails from one line to two lines, even with compact density setting.

      * Changing the theme doesn't change the blinding white background of emails. Go to the dark or terminal theme, let your eyes adjust, then try to read an email. Instant retina burn.

      It's like they're progressively tr

  • I POP it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stan92057 ( 737634 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @07:47PM (#56503417)
    So i can careless, i POP all my email to Thunderbird until i cant. then will create my own email server but as long as i can POP it im happy.
    • Re:I POP it (Score:4, Informative)

      by James Norton ( 4272165 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @07:53PM (#56503457) Homepage

      So i can careless, i POP all my email to Thunderbird until i cant. then will create my own email server but as long as i can POP it im happy.

      I think you mean "I couldn't care less". :-)

  • I wouldn't know. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @07:49PM (#56503429) Homepage Journal

    I use an IMAP client to read my Gmail

    • Same here, IMAP via Thunderbird client on my PC or app on the phone.
      Just tried to log in to the website and it wil not let without my phone to authenticate! WTF, I never set up 2 factor authentication for mail!
      if i need my phone to allow me to open a website, i might as well just us the gmail app on the phone !

  • What? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @07:59PM (#56503481)
    My IMAP interface with gmail remains unchanged. I have never been infected with the desire to use any webmail, especially Google's. As long as they allow IMAP or POP connections, I will continue to use gmail, but not for anything important.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      I go a step further and not evenb use Gmail. I have my own domwin name and use Roundcube on my own server for webmail and also have IMAP for my Android.

      As an addition to that, I have limitess aliasses. When a new website needs my email address I use a specific email address. e.g. for slashdot.org that would be slashdot.org@example.com.

      That way not only do I know if an email really comes from the company and is easy to filter.

      If I get an emnail from my bank to a generic email adress I also use, I will know i

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @08:29PM (#56503625)

    Since the bloody article can't even show the visual differences here are screenshots comparing the old and new:

    * The left column/sidebar of Inbox, Important, Sent Mail, etc. is wider. Number of unread are now in their own sub-column instead of immediately after the Folder name.

    Old left Sidebar [postimg.cc]
    New left Sidebar [postimg.cc]

    * Tabs (Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, Forums) no longer have a vertical line separating them. You HAVE to mouse over them to see where each button ends.

    Old Tabs [postimg.cc]
    New Tabs [postimg.cc]

    * The 2nd column which showed the Senders and the number of emails in a thread no longer shows (#) but just the # number by itself making this harder to read.

    Old senders [postimg.cc]
    New senders [postimg.cc]

    The Topic column is less wide, meaning you can't see entire short emails now.

    Old subject [postimg.cc]
    New subject [postimg.cc]

    Do. Not. Want.

    --
    "Get off my LAN." -- Grumpy old programmer

    • Excellent post - these are the EXACT reasons I reverted to the old version.

    • Idiotic. Oddly, gmail UI hasn't changed. not sure why.

      Thanks for posting the pics.
    • I asked about disabling some of the changes on the Google Product Forums, and the "official" members told me there was no way to change them and to "Please use the in-app 'Send feedback' link to submit your request/issue directly to Google. You will not receive a response from Google."

      ("You will not receive a response from Google" seems like it ought to be their new motto.)

      However a heroic stranger happened along and developed a number of CSS hacks usable via Stylish that cleans up almost all the most
  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @08:47PM (#56503723)
    Web consoles suck, period. They take twice as long to access and experience severe limitations in the way with which you can interact with them, even for something as simple as an email client.
  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @08:54PM (#56503769)

    Here are step-by-step instructions to try out the new UI:

    1. Click on Gear top right [postimg.cc]

    2. Click on the first menu choice [postimg.cc] Try the new Gmail
    If you don't see "Try the new Gmail" menu choice -- it hasn't been rolled out to your account (yet).

    3. Select the layout [postimg.cc] Default, Comfortable, Compact
    Don't worry if you picked the wrong choice. You can click on gear icon in the top right and the non-descript Display density to choose between the three.

    Thankfully we can Go back to classic Gmail for now -- until Google rams it down our throats, whether we want it or not.

  • I think it's great having the option to always have the calendar up within the Gmail screen. It's something I've wanted for a long time.

    The one really annoying piece for me is that the main window tooltips stay up too long (like the Refresh button). If you hover over an icon too long and move the cursor away, the tooltip stays up for over a second. Sounds short but it's way too long. The tooltips for the icons on the right side are timed correctly though.

    I use the compact option with a dark theme so I don't

    • The one really annoying piece for me is that the main window tooltips stay up too long (like the Refresh button).

      I didn't notice that until I read your comment, and now it's making me nuts.

  • Gmail's changed something? I haven't noticed any differences in my email client.
  • If you don't like the change, dont fret, dont sweat. Just wait for a few minutes. It will change, it is like Pittsburgh weather.
  • by alfino ( 173081 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @11:00PM (#56504239)

    I've no evidence for this, but the way he keeps defending big-G in the wake of all the privacy problems we've seen and continue to feel, he's been touting them as being stellar about privacy and that they would never, and bla.

    Maybe it's true that unlike Facebook, Google doesn't sell your data. But the main reason for that is that they want to monetise you all by themselves. Also, nothing would stop them from doing so tomorrow.

    Gmail innovations here or there, your best bet is to get rid of Google and Facebook, use plugins like uMatrix and Cookie AutoDelete and navigate the Web without splattering your fingerprints everywhere.

  • by binarybum ( 468664 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @11:02PM (#56504245) Homepage

    It doesn't seem to be pushed to apps accounts / G Suite unfortunately.

  • Too much emphasis on say the attachments which clutters the whole page and not on say the top tabs. Not too bad in compact mode I guess.
  • ...I abandoned G+ never to go back. I used G+ until it allowed me to use the old interface. G+ would revert back to the new, flat version every once in a while in spite of me going back to the classic version. One day I could not go back to the classic version, and that's when G+ lost a user.

    I don't mind doing the same with the Gmail web interface. It's harder to abandon the e-mail system, but it is not difficult to abandon the WEB UI.

  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock@po[ ]c.com ['eti' in gap]> on Thursday April 26, 2018 @12:37AM (#56504527)
    There it is in Thunderbird along with all my other email accounts. They all look alike in their little windows and they all function the same- no learning a different interface for each account. Some of these accounts date back to the last century and all the emails I want to keep are preserved here and on their servers. Never understood the concept of using a browser to read email.
  • IMAP/Thunderbird here. Web-based mail is so very Eternal September.

  • The rest of us uses mail programs to read their mail and couldn't care less.

  • Gmail UI is moronic shit, stands to reason that they're not going to change it much this time.

  • There's no changes to my gmail, perhaps because it's through another domain, just using gmail as a backend? /shrug
  • When using the search function, the old interface does not highlight the previously-chosen (guessed) message in the search results when you return to it, making it difficult to pick up where you left off.

    It's such a minor detail and so useful that I don't know why it is not this way.

  • ...it still doesn't fix one of the number one flaws with GMail which is this: if GMail is going to group everything into conversations, why does it still have separate Inbox and Send Items folders? Basically, Inbox now just means "Everything where someone has sent you something", and "Sent Items" means "Mostly the same as the Inbox, plus a few times you sent an email but never got a reply."

    The look and feel? It's OK. It doesn't show off MD to its best potential, but it's good enough. I had no problems fi

  • Personally, I'm not overly impressed by the changes... but those changes aren't so horrible as to make me want to run away and hide in the old interface, either. In fact, the only difference which seems even remotely noteworthy to me, is that the entire interface appears to have become ever so slightly more sluggish -- but even that isn't horrific; it's just mildly annoying. The reality is, the new interface is going to be rolled out to all Gmail users eventually anyway, likely with little or no change from

  • Google can do what they want with the UI to try and make it better, but I don't think it will ever compete with a full on dedicated mail client like Thunderbird of Geary. I find I can get most tasks done faster with a thick client than I can with the Gmail website.
  • Due to the removal of Labs, I no longer have an upcoming calendar events on the left side. I can open a today view on the right, but not just a list of upcoming events.

  • I don't see any noticeable difference on the web version. But, in the Android version on my phone, the program now collapses email threads into a single long concatenated message with portions hidden. It makes the replies in the thread, particularly the later ones, very hard to read.

  • Its different, so I'm sure the vast majority of /. hates it even if they haven't seen it. Some will say they access Gmail through Lynx so it doesn't impact them, and the rest will chide everyone else for not running their own mail server inside of a Faraday cage only accessible through a VPN based on the moon.
  • The new UI looks somewhat more modern, but is still very cluttered. Also, esc doesn't work anymore to go back to the list of emails =/

    Tried it for a few minutes and went back to Inbox.

  • No Sir, I don't like it.

I've got a bad feeling about this.

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