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Computerworld: “Making peril permanent: Google’s Gmail app redesign”

. . . In considering the Gmail app changes, Richard Kline, a professor at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, said Google has been paying a lot more attention to design and aesthetics lately.

While Google has been encouraging people to archive rather than delete for a long time, Kline said the interface change may be an effort to provide the most important features in a way that is still useable on a small screen.

The best evidence that usability was a major driver in Google’s app redesign, said Kline, is that the Web interface has remained the same, with the archive and delete buttons next to each other.

Kline said there is appeal to the idea of archive default. Rather than prompt people to consider whether something should be kept, “they tried to provide a mechanism by which you just save everything” while making it easy to search for it later.

Kline said he manages his email, and deletes messages he does not believe should be saved. But he suggest a middle road for Google, and that’s a check-off option for keeping an email in the inbox for 60 days before it’s automatically deleted, something he said would be useful for short-lived discussions.

Read the article by Computerworld.

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