When the new Gmail version was made available, lots of new features were announced and than people started to point to new ones. But behind the great fireworks some other small changes with deep impact were made.
Here is an example on how some small changes can lead to feature awarness.
A few nights ago, my girlfriend called me that she saw that Google added, to the compose screen, the option to create invites for Gcal. While I knew that this was an pretty old feature, I knew that something has changed but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Happily, you can switch between the old and new interface and than I saw it:
Gmail old interface:
Gmail new interface:
(click on thumbnails for the bigger pictures)
What really changed so that feature become more vizible to the “regular” user:
- In the old version, the link to create new event was placed on the far right of the screen. Most people don’t move their eyes so far so is practically invisible even though it’s in front of your eyes.
- Labeling. In the original version, the feature was labeled “” Add event info”. That basically doesn’t say anything to “regular” users. What event? It’s an freakin email. What info should I add?(those questions appeared in the rare case they spotted it). In the new version, the label says “Add event invitation”. This label is more clear and in plain view.
Those 2 small changes might appear as insignificant to most of the people. But I am willing to bet a lot that the spike in usage after the roll out was pretty huge.
So, summing it up. Just because you use the internet on a daily basis and develop web apps that doesn’t mean that those are going to be user friendly. Not even if you are a huge, popular company. Hiring a team or an usability company, might not also guarantee your success but at least you have more chances than your competitors