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Where’s the mail in GMail?

As GMail has been rolling out changes to their UI, I’ve been interested to see where the mail in GMail actually appears on the screen. Here’s an infographic I made chronicling the changes of GMail’s look over the past few versions. Some major changes in GMail’s UI over the years have been:

  • A 3-tiered priority inbox
  • GMail’s “white space” look
  • The option to change your layout between Compact, Cozy, and Comfortable

Admittedly, this is very unscientific, and I chose the 3-tier Priority inbox to emphasize what happens when you have no priority mail. Since I have a MacBook, I couldn’t even display the Comfortable layout, which is for large displays.

What is interesting through all of this is how far you have to scan down the page before your eye would hit email. A lot of the functionality is the same, so what’s the benefit of expanding the layout? I’m guessing as people have been getting higher and higher resolution displays, Google has felt less pressure to try and cram information into every pixel. It’s also interesting to see that whitespace is not just uniformly increasing, but being shuffled around in some areas, such as the search bar.

Click on the image for the full-sized version

Click on the image for the full-sized version