The UX of Google Inbox

By | February 27, 2015

Google is trying out a new interface for GMail called Inbox.  I asked for an invite and received one that day. Clearly the design has been lifted from Google+.  It’s all circles and material design. At first, I didn’t like it because it was too full.  Then I discovered a new way to “Archive”.

inbox

They have these checks which allow you to “Mark as Done”.  As many people have, in GMail, I let my inbox get huge.  I never archived anything.  Literally, the effort of archiving just didn’t seem worth it. (Yes, I am that lazy)

However, I got the hint from Inbox, that the interface makes that task slightly easier and the UI is better if your inbox is empty.  I went into GMail and did a mass archive of my inbox.  There were thousands of messages.  Now, it’s all neatly tucked away.

I went back into Inbox and the UI looked alot cleaner. I started using it more.  It’s on my phone, my iPad and my desktop.  It’s a consistent and pleasant experience.  The truth is that isn’t not radically different than GMail. However, the little things make a difference.

The graphics are nicer, just plain nicer.  The “Done” action is much more satisfying than the “Archive” action.  It’s the same idea, but “Done” feels better when I click it, whereas “Archive” felt like an unneeded step.  I get closure with “Done”. Additionally, the bundling of the other categories is more elegant than in GMail.

When you have a system like Marketo, there are a thousand features.  You can’t spend all month thinking about the wording of one action.  However, when you design a system like GMail/Inbox, you HAVE to obsess about those details.  They make a huge difference.

Nice job on the UX Google!

Note: I recently spend 4 hours with my team over the week debating what to call a different mode of landing page design. It’s good for the design soul.

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