Monday 27 October 2014

WTF? The Google Inbox website is kinda broken

In an interesting twist in the 'what's important to the end user' industry soap opera, the Google website promoting Google Inbox makes some interesting design choices regarding web usability. In particular it discards the concept of web 'links'. Really? So the page for 'Request Invitation' shouldn't have a URL? I can't link readers of this blog to the 'highlights' page?

There's a lot of dynamic scrolling going on but ultimately the entire 'site' is served via a single web URL, a la full-page Flash sites of maybe a decade ago.

The HTML 5 developers did a good thing introducing features that removed the need for Flash. But if Google developers buy into the Flash-style website-as-a-single-page model then others are definitely going to do that, and we're going to head off on a detour on the interweb superhighway.

Maybe I'm just out of date. Apps are the way to go, the internet is just wrong.

Although, seriously, as posted earlier, I think the assessment of user value from Google for Inbox is misguided (in spite of the Google-Wave-like effusive user enthusiasm currently in the TwitterSphere), and the Google inbox website is actually symptomatic of a glossy marketing-led fire-and-forget approach.

If Google really wanted to see if Inbox is a killer app, they should quietly make it available as a slightly inelegant beta, and see if it goes viral.

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