The design of 15-year-old Gmail is currently too hectic and cluttered but its lead designer from 2008 to 2012, Michael Leggett, has built a Chrome extension to fix the problem. This extension promises to improve the cluttered Gmail problem by hiding some of the buttons, boxes, and logos that currently fill the page. The extension is named Simplify which is a free Chrome extension meant to streamline your inbox.
In an interview with Fast Company, Leggett complains that Gmail looks like “Lucky Charms got spewed all over the screen” and he apparently hates the big Gmail logo at the top-left corner for which he says, “Go look at any desktop app and tell me how many have a huge f logo in the top left”. Leggett further said, “C’mon. It’s pure ego, pure bullshit. Drop the logo. Give me a break.” Microsoft Outlook on the web can also be held guilty to some extent for this clutter.
What does this Chrome extension really do:
Simplify simply moves all of Gmail’s sidebar icons to discrete drop-down and pull-up menus. It then relocates the search feature to a less prominent location and moves core functions, like delete, to the top bar. It also eliminates color-coded labels and places the create new mail button in the bottom right corner, where the new mail window opens.
Here are a few improvements you’ll see in Simplify:
- Left and right sidebars hidden behind menu buttons.
- A minimized search bar.
- Compose in the bottom right, similar to a mobile interface.
- Calendar, Keep, Tasks condensed in the bottom right.
- Gmail logo in the top left gone.
The extension has reportedly been downloaded for about more than 15,000 times, with about 500 new installs per day. It also doesn’t deliver any ads or collect analytics, and Legget has shared the code on Github.