"Segne den Becher, welcher überfließen will, daß das Wasser golden aus ihm fließe und überallhin den Abglanz deiner Wonne trage!" – Nietzsche

Gmail’s Redesign is Stupid: A Rant with Pictures

with 5 comments

Gmail recently overhauled its interface, replacing all those pesky words like “delete” and “archive” that used to clutter up the interface with a collection of tasteful, inscrutable icons.

I know that inscrutable icons are all the rage these days, but really – this is where Product Managers need to step in and rein in their design team. No one likes inscrutable icons except Design People. You may know one – they’re the people who keep a copy of Taschen’s Big Book of Fonts on their coffee tables.

Compare these actual Gmail icons, and please tell me, which means “expand this thread” and which means “archive this thread”?

One of the following icons means “go back,” and one of them means “reply”:

Now, I haven’t been to design school, but….

I’d like to give you a quiz. In the picture below, each inscrutable icon has been numbered – what do they do? Click the image for actual size.

The answers are in the first comment on this post. If anyone scores 100% correct, let me know and I’ll send you a pizza roll.

Written by Mesocosm

March 17, 2012 at 11:28 am

Posted in Rant

Tagged with ,

5 Responses

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  1. Answer Key:

    1) Back to Inbox
    2) Archive
    3) Report Spam – This one is my favorite! Because, it’s like, stop, spam! Everyone knows what that means.
    4) Delete
    5) Move To
    6) Labels
    7) Expand All
    8) Print All
    9) In New Window
    10) Mark as Important
    11) Reply


    March 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

  2. I got ‘me all. I would like a gluten-free donut instead of a pizza roll. 😉
    I agree that the “Report Spam” icon left me puzzled until I clicked on it to see what it did. In general, I slightly prefer the written labels, but I got used to the icons very quickly. I think Google should consider making a choice between text and icons available in the settings, for folks like you who hate them. I’m sure you’re not alone.

    Juli Chamberlin

    March 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    • Come now! If you’ve previously played around with the new interface and tried out the icons you didn’t understand, that means: no donut for you!


      March 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      • Of course not. Hence the winking emoticon & the full-disclosure admission on the “report spam” button. I did know all the others w/o testing, though.

        Juli Chamberlin

        March 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

  3. THANK YOU!!!
    saved graphic and info as a desktop reference…

    kay hoffmann

    December 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm

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