Beginning this week, Google is forcing Gmail users to switch to the new interface. While the new interface looks slick and modern, it suffers from numerous poor design choices that have users up in arms. Some of the issues are fixable with a few settings tweaks. For example, you can use the compact, high-contrast theme to reduce the wastage of space and enhance readability. But for others, there is seemingly no cure.
Thankfully, few users are taking up the challenge themselves, and are trying to make the new Gmail more intuitive through extensions and userstyles. Among the better attempts is Gmelius, which is a free, cross-browser compatible extension that tweaks and refines the new Gmail interface.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the stuff that Gmelius does:
- It reclaims space by collapsing the Search and Share bar, stripping away the footer, and removing the People widget. Gmelius can also be configured to block all advertisements.
- It enhances the appearance of Gmail by adding subtle row highlights, and disabling fancy fonts and colors in incoming mails.
- It makes navigation more intuitive by colorizing the navigation icons and supplementing them with text.
- It adds an auto-scroll to the top action that can be triggered by clicking on the black Google bar.
Gmelius is dead simple to configure, and the tweaks it offers go a long way towards enhancing the new Gmail interface. The new navigations icons drove me nuts for weeks, and even after using the new interface for a several months, I still get confused occasionally. I only wish that I had discovered Gmelius sooner. There’s undoubtedly a lot more stuff that Gmelius could do. For example, it could bring back the reply links beneath every message or re-enable color coding of conversations. However, Gmelius already does enough for me to encourage you to go ahead and install it. It’s currently available for Chrome, Firefox & Opera.
[ Download Gmelius ]