user experience

The Gmail Problem – Encouragement

Part 3 in a series exploring the eventual adoption of Gmail in one's daily life, by one once thoroughly addicted to, dependent on, the primarily client-based solution of Microsoft's Outlook, what brought about this conversion, why it took so long, and what should be done to encourage greater Gmail adoption.

gmail_logo_stylized_thumb35[3]This is part 3 of a short story of personal exploration and development by one new to the daily employment of Gmail, long resisted, long desired, and eventually brought to conversion by an Android.

Part 3: To Resist

Recently our journey began. From the humble origins of Outlook to the portable synchronicity of the Windows Mobile platform, I did travel, did evolve, as needs, desires, and demands of communication and productivity so evolved and changed. Through the darkness of masked potential so emerged new and exciting opportunities. But, to fully grasp this fortune, these new degrees of productivity, it is important to pause, take measure of, and understand the crux at the heart at the core of the resistance to Gmail.

I am often asked, more so in the days since my recent conversion to Gmail, what is was, specifically, precisely, that caused me to build up such a strong aversion to a product such as this. The constitution of my answer is thus…

Exiguous Encouragement


To be unwelcomed into foreign arms was foremost the chief reason for my resistance. Over the years I have proven myself adaptive, willing and eager to try and learn new skills, especially of those that possess the potential to further optimize my relationships and time spent thereupon. This cause, perhaps the best embodiment of my duality of desires, the eagerness to embrace, coupled with the strenuous resistance to adopt, too had solutions’ twain — to either or both acclimate or assist.

To acclimate, the more desirous of the paths would have been to support an easing shift, a reduction of the jagged peaks on this most mountainous path to the gentle current of reorganized communication. To teach one, myself, how to swim this new stroke in this new lane, would be to show me, teach me, facilitate my gradual, incremental evolution. Providing an environment wholly novel and new, with no path to acclimation nor encouragement in transition, a total dunking in the deep end, from user interface to other parallels of familiarity that could bring me forth, predicates the alternative, of the lowest common denominator, to assist.

01_google-apps-sync To assist, the tools of self determination would enable the toe dipping into the Gmail pool. To be able to straddle, with one foot in each, the choices, both presenting their own unique experiences, both available to cater to my liquid needs, would have, in an unforceful fashion empowered me to, myself, make the decision as to when I felt I was fully ready to jump into this new pool. Recently, and for far longer at 03_google-syncthe exclusive enterprise level, tools of synchronization do exist, but fall/fell short in timing and implementation — from seamlessness to bidirectionality; capabilities becoming better addressed and more widely available since my full on dive in.


The Resistance

But, what of the other reasons for my resistance, which managed to be sustained from the early days of the private Gmail beta to the most recent of but few weeks passed? For surely there must be more to such a stalwart position as has been held by me, and I am sure many others still, for, for them, the resistance most definitely continues. And, indeed there are. In addition to…

Exiguous Encouragement

… there too are the staunch galvanizers of resistance …

Inescapable IO (Information Overload),
Suffersome Slowness, and
Tiny Things.

The Next

And, these propellants of reluctance, delayers of adoption, the fundamental causes of my resistance to what would eventually be overshadowed and forced aside, through the coercion of an Android to my conversion to the ways of Gmail, will, my friends, have to wait until next week.

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring the eventual adoption of Gmail in one’s daily life, by one once thoroughly addicted to, dependent on, the primarily client-based solution of Microsoft’s Outlook,

what brought about this conversion, (1) (2)
why it took so long, and (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
what should be done to encourage greater Gmail adoption. (8) (9)

Enjoy & Tweet!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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  1. Dear Google: we get it, you’re Google and engineers steer the ship, but for god’s sake, why on earth do you feel compelled to proactively make your products less user friendly? IMHO, Gmail is 1/2 step above DOS – there is just no excuse for that.


  2. I use gmail mainly just for email. Its ok. But what really gets off with me is their use of contacts. Its so anti-intuitive and just plain frustrating.

    I do enjoy using google docs and the google note book. Notes are great for just jotting down quick ideas, kind of like an electronic version of the sticky note.


  3. My pathway:
    Started with Outlook Express as it came with my computer. Then someone told me to swap to Outlook as it can organise your life as well. I moaned and groaned and then did not look back. Then it started crashing on me.

    As I already had a gmail account which pointed to my Outlook e-mail, I then moved over to gmail- very frustrating in the beginning ( I moaned and groaned yet again). Then I had to write a learning object to get my teachers onto gmail- and that was it- hooked! I choose gmail for them as they do not all have their own computers and had to access their e-mail from various pc’s. It also gave them acess to all the other fine tools google offer and I could also stay in touch with them via g-chat. But it was only when I looked under the hood in order to write my learning object that I realised how cool it really is.

    Contrary to the previous comment- I find the contact very intuitive- I just search in 3 secs flat! What I would like to have (and maybe it is there I just have not figured it out yet, is how to add a contact straight from an e-mail (eg in Outlook you can rightclick on a person and –> add to contacts….)

    The main thing that did it for me was that it syncs accross all my computers without me having to lift a finger (smartphone- pc’s–>no sweat) and that it is available offline as well.

    My gmail learning object for my teachers is here: (Novice level)


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