Changes in Gmail

Google recently made a few changes to the buttons in Gmail. Here’s a before and after comparison:
Changes in Gmail

But they got two things wrong:

  1. The mouse cursor doesn’t change when hovering over the new buttons. With the old buttons the cursor changed to a little clicky hand thing, and you knew the thing was a button and you could click on it. The new buttons don’t seem clickable.
  2. The new buttons look the same as the new drop-down menus (other than the little black triangle on the right side). Buttons and menus should look different.
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5 Responses to Changes in Gmail

  1. modified says:

    I’m mostly just amazed that you happened to have a screen-shot of Gmail pre-change lying around. Do you take screen shots of Gmail every day just in case something like this happens?

    1) I’m not sure the cursor thing is such a big deal. As a point of comparison, in both Firefox and Safari, none of the actual application buttons (forward,back,home,etc) actually change the cursor when you mouse over them. At this point, I think people know what a button is, so they don’t need so many context clues.

    2) I would also argue that the original menu item looks more like a combo box than a menu item. I think the new menu items are visually distinctive enough to indicate that something different is going to happen when they click them.

    Ok, I’m not a UI designer, so take this all with a grain of salt. However, I know Google has some pretty substantial user testing that does on before they release a product, so I’m guessing all the changes checked out.

    • Mark Doliner says:

      Heh, no I don’t take screen shots of Gmail every day… I use it for work email and for home email, and I only refreshed the page in one of them.

      1) Hmm, good point. For me those buttons have a more dramatic mouse-over effect, though.
      2) Yeah. I was wondering what it would look like if they put a thin vertical line between the text and the down arrow.

      Also, thanks for pointing out that it’s Gmail and not GMail :-)

  2. Anonymous says:

    You’re right!

    I knew there was something wrong, perhaps it’s that?

    It’s interesting that they did the same UI change in Google Reader, but there the link cursor appears.

    Have you tried reporting the issue?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for feedback! Those are good catches. We have a team working on a patch right now, look for the release shortly!

    -Gmail team

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