GMAIL : Hall of Fame / Hall of Shame?

by Aisya Aziz & Rahul Monga

gmail_interface.JPG
Pros:-
  • Simplicity
    • the interface has no fancy color scheme, no weird button layouts, nothing out of the ordinary. The look and feel is very simple, straight forward and very intuitive. Everything is easy to find and this really goes a far way to increase the productivity of gmail's user base, which is the ultimate goal.
  • Speed
    • Opening emails, composing emails, moving things to different folders, they are all blazing fast. You will notice that when you start gmail up, there little loading screen which sometimes takes a little time. This is to get as much information from the server to your browser as possible. From then on, the interaction between the client and server is minimized to give us these blazing fast speeds, which makes gmail a much more fun experience.
  • Clean Chat feature
    • Other email clients (Yahoo) have now brought in the chat feature onto their email web applications. But the thing that sets the gmail chat apart is the simplicity of their design. The interface stays consistent by not having any fancy color schemes, and not being bulky. There is simply a chat box, and a text input box to type in your message. I like this method of keeping it simple because it allows you to do what you want, in a fast and easy manner.


Cons:-

Gmail example
Non-Gmail example
  • Signature.
    • Between Gmail-s, the signature looks fine.
    • However, if the receiver is using other mails, the signature will be at the bottom of the email. (hidden by the forwarded message)
      • for professional users who are sending emails back-and-forth to customers, this may not look pretty in the customers' side.
  • Hidden forwarded message.
    • Takes time to get used to it.
    • May be mis-looked by some people.
      • I highlighted some important texts in the forwarded message - it was hidden - but, it's the important stuff I wanted to show to people.
      • Emailed a friend 5x just so that the 'hidden' message can be seen - since the receiver is a friend, it doesn't really matter. but what if it's a work-related stuff?
  • Changing between accounts.
    • Gmail has started accommodating multiple accounts by single user.
      • I admit that they totally need this - since so many organizations are now using Gmail.
      • The next time you sign in, you'll need to put in the multiple accounts again. (I expected the accounts remain - it's okay if we'll need to key in the password again - for security reason)

Conclusion:-

Apart from having good add-ons features (gchat, googledocs, google calendars), we feel that Gmail actually belongs in the Hall of Shame :( in the email-wise. Gmail doesn't accommodate for users to email to non-gmail users. Function-wise (fast, block spam, easy access to other google features) Gmail could probably win, but in the interface wise, Gmail could probably do better.