user experience

Gmail – Sweating the Small Stuff

Part 6 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_thumb35This is part 6 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 6: 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. And, the final piece, pieces, that made whole, almost immutable, my resistance to this conversion where the slowness, and the abundance of the little things.

Tiny Things

My on again, off again relationship, my basic resistance to Gmail was many-fold and lasted only until most recently. It was often the tiny things that got under the skin and kept us apart.

These things that grate at our well being, drive us apart when everything else feels surmountable, like pebbles, individually dismissible, together formidable, and in this case, significant in their contribution to the resistance heretofore exercised in the prelude to my conversion to Gmail.


Such infractions within this relationship had a cumulative effect:

Of course, to a much lesser extent than those explored in prior weeks, nonetheless, one of those pebbles, was the lack of customization of Gmail and Gmail related products (e.g. Google Calendar). And, by customization, I am referring to the abilities of plug-ins and other functionality aspects of these products whose counterparts in Exchange and Outlook had proven a comfortable harbor — one which I did not long to depart. Sure, calendar coloring by category is a tiny feature, a tiny thing, but one that I had grown accustomed to, one that has been there for me in helping me group and highlight important or critical elements — the similar offerings from Google Calendar, colorizing by calendar, not category, did not pass muster.



Another, inconsiderate act upon which I was frequently subjected, and even continues to this day, with greatly decreased frequency, relates to another notable series of infractions. Gmail never meant me any harm. I know that. It, I have believed, has always had the best intentions in trying to meet my needs, even trying to protect me from harm. But, its rigid treatment of spam, its very powerful spam filtering, … some interruptions occurring mid conversation … has resulted in me losing more than a few messages over the years.



It’s the tiny things that served as a persistent reminder to the Gmail resistance, individually minor, almost insignificant, but there nonetheless, unchanging, unmoving, and reminding me of all the other bigger things, that too persisted in like form. It’s the daily, tiny things that, when the larger ones fade from sight, serve has reminders to all the problems in the relationship that remain, remind us and eventually succeed in ensuring a persistent divide unbridged…


…that is, of course, unless, until you have the chance encounter, with an Android.



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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