For quite a few years now I have been constantly complaining that Gmail is the ugliest mail client I have ever encountered. It is cluttered, confusing, and the overall design just lacks the elegance and consistency of other popular websites such as Hotmail. For a while I even refused to use Gmail because of this, but as it continued to grow in popularity, I jumped on board.
Today, I am proud to announce all of this is finally coming to an end. You may have noticed multiple Google services have been undergoing design changes to match the modern look of Google+. First was Google search, then Google Calendar, and now it is Gmail’s turn. So far, it is looking pretty good. The Gmail team writes:
If you poke around you’ll hopefully find a lot to like and a much cleaner, modern look but also few rough edges. In particular, some Labs features may look a little strange in the new themes. We plan to fix these issues as we roll out changes in the coming months. You can also expect some updated themes that embody the same design principles but are better suited to working in a dark environment, use a different color palette, or include the illustrations that we know many of you love to see around your inbox.
It is true. The site is very sleek now. The folks behind Gmail have smoothed out all the gradients beautifully, making for a streamlined look that is much more pleasing to the eye. I also noticed that because of this, it is easier to focus on the contents of an email. The Gmail team also improved the organization of the options bar at the top of the inbox and cleaned up the footer area, which was previously drowning in unnecessary links and information.
My only complaint right now is the large, odd mix of colors. With the blue Search Mail button, red Compose Mail button, gray theme, and multiple label colors, it feels a bit like Fischer-Price chimed in on the color scheme. That said, I am happy Google finally decided to give Gmail a revamp.
The new design is not rolling out just yet. Instead, you can access the preview by going into Themes under Settings and then choosing Preview or Preview (Dense). They are both the same, but the dense version pushes all the content slightly closer together.