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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gmail Changes Refresh Link to Button - A Notable Use Case for Information Architects

Now this time it is a relatively small change in Gmail that caught my eyes, but definitely it was not that small to remain un-noticed. Yes, the Refresh feature of Gmail. Frankly speaking I used this feature very less cause I was in a habit of clicking the Inbox link rather, and it was from the time when Refresh feature was not even available to Gmail.

Recently I was using that Refresh link a bit and suddenly I noticed that it's no more a link. It has went up the Information Architecture ladder of Gmail and has been promoted to a button. Which means Google treats the refresh function to be as important as Archive, Report Spam, Delete or Move To actions. Definitely this is not something whimsical but result of good user research. I have noticed many users to use that Refresh feature profusely cause they can't wait to make sure that they really don't have any more new mails in their Inbox, though they are well aware of the push mail feature of Gmail.

I welcome the promotion of Refresh feature in Gmail while it is looking something odd as a new behavior which is definitely going to be adjusted with the eyes very soon.

So being a designer what you are thinking about? This is a very useful use case to notice and follow where we go through several iterations within our designs to make sure we can estimate the user activities and can provide them with the proper information architecture they needs.


Anonymous said...

I noticed there was something off immediately, but I couldn't put my finger on it... Now that I have, I still feel a little bit awkward each time I press it. I liked the text link. :(

Acmeous said...

Yes right, but that's how we got to notice this :). Any change is always going to make us feel a bit odd at the beginning.
But I got to see many people now started noticing that they have an option to manually refresh the push mail system, though they have been using Gmail for 2-4 years :).

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