Tech Tip for the Timid: Gmail Interface Basics

If you are someone who is having trouble with Gmail syncing with your Apple Mail after you upgraded to Mavericks (the newest operating system), then you might be logging into Gmail directly for the first time in years. To a regular user of Gmail, any interface changes are not that big of a deal, but if you have logged into Gmail after years of viewing it using your Apple Mail, the screen probably looks very different. On the Google Inbox support page,  you will find some great starting resources if you need them, but for the purpose of this post I will demonstrate two features today that seem to be causing users some trouble–the collapsible conversation viewer, and the sleek formatting buttons.

Google has taken it upon itself to refine the Gmail interface so that it has the sleek hidden drawers of a modern house.

Modern minimalist kitchen

The new Gmail interface is sleek, modern, and hidden behind doors.

The kitchen looks beautiful, but even the refrigerator is hidden from view. That means unless you know where everything is, you’re going to have to open up a few cabinets before you find what you need.

To illustrate this, I sent an email from my personal account to my work account. Here are some screen shots:

gmail conversation orginal


Then, I logged into my work email account to read and respond to that email:

gmail conversation 1


While I was typing up a response, I noted how sleek and nice the interface was, but I began to study it in a bit more detail:

gmail conversation 1.5

As I was typing the reply, I also wondered  where all the previous content had disappeared to:

gmail before dots expanded

I got brave and clicked on the three dots and discovered my original content:

gmail dots expanded

After that, I decided to open even more drawers in the kitchen to find out where some other features were hiding:

gmail hidden formatting

I realized that all the features I had used previously were there–just hidden away for me to use when I needed.

After reflecting a bit, I realized that I actually liked the new interface–It was clean and clutter-free, and if I got lost and forgot how to add bullet points, hyperlinks, or attachments, I could click on icons and hover around without worrying about breaking something. This, in my opinion, is how you should explore Gmail. Just like the sleek, modern kitchen, once you know all of the hiding places, you might decide that you really enjoy how streamlined it looks.

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