Two More Reasons to Love Gmail

I’d like to extend a kudos to Google for two relatively new design improvements on Gmail. Brace yourself for a barrage of screenshots!

The first improvement is a “Track package” button that will often appear next to an e-mail sent to a Gmail user’s account. In the user’s inbox, where the collection of e-mails are listed, this button will appear next to an e-mail/message that contains tracking information for shipment. Take a look at this screenshot to get a better idea of what I’m talking about:

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 9.42.18 PM

This improvement is yet another example of a service streamlining the experience for users; what’s great about this improvement is that it’s subtle and unobtrusive, so it likely won’t bother users who choose not to use it.

Now, instead of opening the e-mail message and searching for the tracking information, users can simply click on this button, which will automatically bring up their shipment tracking information. For example, when I click on the “Track package” button in the screenshot above, the following page loads in a new tab on my browser:


I also want to praise Google for another fantastic improvement that makes the process of sending e-mails with large attachment files so much easier and quicker. In the past, when users tried to upload an attachment file that exceeded 25 MB, they received an error message telling them the file was too big to send. There were only a few solutions: (1) somehow shrink the file (e.g., compressing the file into a zip folder, which still may not have shrunk the file below 25 MB); (2) save the file in the cloud and point to its location; and (3) save the file to an external drive.

Now, if an attachment exceeds the maximum file size, users see this:

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 8.54.38 PM

This is similar to Solution #2 mentioned above (save in the cloud and point to its location), except Gmail is doing the work for you and automatically saving the file to Google Drive. After users click on the “Send using Google Drive” button, the following instructions appear:

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 9.02.30 PM

If users choose to send their attachment via Google Drive, they can upload file sizes as large as 10 GB, which is quite amazing. Once users select a file or multiple files, the screen will now look like this:

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 9.01.48 PM

Upon clicking “Upload,” the file will save/upload to the Gmail users’s Google Drive, which requires no set-up, since all Gmail users are automatically given their own Google Drive space when they sign up for a Gmail account. After the upload is complete, the following message is shown:

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 9.33.37 PM

In this box, users can determine how they want to share the file with the recipient(s). There are 3 sharing options: (1) recipients of all e-mail services can access the file in view-only mode; (2) recipients of all e-mail services can add comments to the file;  (3) recipients of all e-mail services can edit the file. If users select the “Send without sharing” option, then only other Gmail recipients will be able to view the file. If the recipient is not using Gmail as their e-mail service, they would be required to create a Gmail account (or log-in to an existing Gmail account) in order to view the file.

This improvement achieves the same goal as the new “Track package” button:  it streamlines the process of sending and receiving e-mails, simplifying and smoothing out the “bumps” that might frustrate users or slow them down.

So, in sum, for all my fellow Gmail users out there, Google just made our experience even better.

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About intelligentuxdesign

I am the Assessment and User Experience Librarian at the University of Dayton Libraries. I am a graduate of Kent State University, where I received a Master of Library and Information Science degree in August 2011 and a Master of Science degree in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management with a concentration in User Experience Design in May 2012. My professional interests include usability, user experience design, information architecture, visual and information design, human-computer interaction, information technologies, and outreach services.
This entry was posted in User Experience Design (UXD), User Interface Design, Web Design and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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