Give me back my text labels, GMail!

The new GMail interface includes icons in action buttons instead of old text labels; not a good decision from a usability point of view.

A lot has been written about the new GMail interface; most of it is a matter of opinion, but I’m afraid Google has committed an obvious mistake: using icons (in buttons) that don’t have a clear single meaning.

Let’s take a look at two of the buttons; isn’t this your first guess when you see them?

Guess for two of the buttons in new Gmail interface: download? important? 

Wrong. The real functions of those buttons are:

Real meaning of the icons: archive and spam. 

Using fancy original self-designed icons is a common mistake made by novice interface designers; icons are hard to memorize, and users usually recognize just a few of the most common. Many times, the best way to describe a function is simply a text label.

I’m surprised Google has fallen into that error; maybe they have been paying too much attention to people complaining about their ugly interfaces. Anyway, Google, please, give me back my text labels for actions!

One thought on “Give me back my text labels, GMail!

Leave a Reply to Infotecnologia Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *