THE BLOG OF MARK SHIELDS

The "New" Gmail Compose (Updated)

I use Gmail all the time. I have done since 31st August 2004. It's the best email system I've ever had, and it has became the point of contact for almost all my information. This is why my Google is locked behind two-step security and endless back-ups. I used it to send emails to pals all over the world.

It is essential. Email is better than Facebook, Twitter, and any other method of communication - I guess I am old fashioned.

So, a few months ago I spotted a nice wee button to the right of the options.

Try out the new compose experience.



Ok.

What is this madness.


Google have changed the full screen compose to a strange pop up box. I cannot fathom any reason why this is a better user experience. In the blurb, it states that it makes switching between different messages and emails much easier, but I never do that. I don't have that as a wish. What I want is the largest writing space, the most uniform experience, and the easiest to use - it barely does that.

Looking like a pop-up, it feels obtrusive. It feels off balance. It doesn't work when replying to a message, because the message that you are replying to sits in the background greyed out, as if you are doing something else instead. It feels like a mistake, as if something hasn't loaded correctly, or that it should be a feature that is generally accepted as a good idea. I don't understand why this is better than the old compose. Nothing about it feels better.

I have had it pointed out that it looks a bit like a Gmail Chat window, which is something I've not used in years (and will never use, as most of my friends use Outlook, Outlook.com, or don't sit with their email window open like Gmail appears to expect you to do).

There is one saving grace - you can switch back to the "old" compose, but not without a warning - this is a temporary option, and that the old compose "will be going away soon".


Why the hell is this being forced onto us? It's not like the code needs to be swept away - it's already there!

And this isn't just the only thing that Gmail is doing that is a bag of shit. The labels on the left side of the page have been for the last year getting harder and harder to use. The menu automatically shrinks when you are not using it, meaning you only see a small amount of the labels. I have over 30 all automatically filtering and filing emails as they come in, saving my Inbox from 80% of the shit I get. My inbox is essentially my dumping box of random emails - the rest get filed into neat folders, meaning at a glance I can see what emails came in. This took a long time to sort out, and the label shrinking is a disaster in User Interface terms.

Add to that the weird Priority Inbox I got rid of, and the tabbed inbox that Gmail pushed out a few months ago (that I immediately deactivated) and the strange forcing of the Google+ social network on Google users over the past year (in Youtube, Google Account and even Android social features) Google are slowly turning themselves into... Microsoft. Yep, I said it. The more the try to integrate all their services by this one unwanted service, Google+ (I know absolutely no one that uses it) the more I get annoyed.

Fucking hell - why can't things that are good and easy just stay that way?

Update
And today, the 14th August 2013, Google activated the "new" compose only and replaced the old one entirely. Terrible. Awful. Horrendous.

How is Outlook looking these days?