I started seeing a number of articles and a Google Gmail blog post about “improvements” to the Gmail interface, but I didn’t have time to read all the details. I was excited though, because Gmail’s dated and cobbled together interface is the bain of my email existence and one of the reasons I use Sparrow(acquired by Google) on my Mac along with the fantastic Sanebox service, rather than logging into their interface unless I have to. I did see though, that I would be able to access this great new interface and soon. So, while making some configuration changes to my account today, I saw the new Inbox Settings option, I was very excited to see how Google had revamped their atrociously unusable interface.
So, I enabled it and popped back into mail. A quick overlay told me I could now use tabes for email organization by their provided categories. Ok, that’s a good thing. I then clicked Okay and blah… that was it. Just a series of tabs I really don’t need, because I use Sanebox which is a far superior tool for managing my messages and how I see them.
What else has changed? NOTHING!
It is still a mess of cobbled together interface elements on the left and right side of mail. It is still disorganized and unable to accomodate a large number of labels(folders). It still feels like something that has been patched together over too many years and that no one has really considered completely revamping. From the labels on the left to the chat vs. short cuts interface along with calendar if you have it enabled, it is the Frankenstein of email interfaces and I often feel like I am in the grip of a monster when trying to navigate, move messages, change settings, and much more.
What was once elegant, beautiful, and innovative has become ugly, dull, and difficult. It feels like Windows 3.1.