« What's a Yot? | Main | Do it with D3 - Lazy Loading Images »

A Google room with two doors

A room with two doors and scant else. Despite some points made in Steve Yegge's fantastically well-written and enjoyable rant, I've always thought Google's obsessive product focus and extreme emphasis on minimalistic designs a wise investment. After all, you can always furnish an empty house with furniture of your liking (as long as the doors are wide enough), but you can't reconfigure a home crammed with someone else's favorite furniture that's bolted right down.

But then I recently noticed an alarming misstep in Google's product design - Almost half as bad as LinkedIn's horrible home page that has 'Sign Up' fields showing by default rather than 'Sign In' fields with an optional link to 'Sign up if not already a member'. The latter and better design makes it easy for returning visitors (which a CEO should hope to be many). The former makes it one search-and-click harder for loyal users while embarrassingly making this implicit admission - that there is a greater business need for new users than for retaining existing ones. The latter says we'll take good care of you once you're with us. The former says "We love those that don't love us more than those that do - That's natural human psychology, and you better get used to it right now, so there!"

The Google fubar I'm talking about is this:

Gmail logout screen

If you're anything like me, you have more than one Gmail account (notwithstanding Circles :-). Almost everyone i know has at least one. As I'm sure even a cursory analysis of the Gmail data will show, the majority of Gmail sessions are logged out only to be logged right back in by the same person or by someone else in the family. Perhaps I'm wrong about what the data shows, but in any case, why even seed doubt in a prospective user's mind that there are many who need to sign up? Isn't it much better to subtly reinforce the sub-conscious message that the whole world is on Gmail?

The above logout page doesn't do justice to the near ubiquity of Gmail. Instead of immediately presenting with a re-login screen (with an optional link to sign up), it takes me to a page, whose purpose, for all I can tell, is purely promotional. It's a room with a door leading in, with nothing else but a door leading out, except for wall papering with marketing material you're invited to admire.

I cannot conceal my mild disappointment (and inconvenience) with this feature. Hopefully this is something that (a) not the whole world is seeing and (b) will hopefully soon be corrected.



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 16, 2011 9:19 AM.

The previous post in this blog was What's a Yot?.

The next post in this blog is Do it with D3 - Lazy Loading Images.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35