According to leaks obtained by Geek.com, a fairly drastic visual redesign of Gmail for both desktop and mobile users may be on the way. More than just a graphical refresh, some new features are being tested behind closed doors at Google as well.
The screenshots, pictured below, suggest a quite substantial change to the look and feel of the Internet’s favorite web-based email client. The design is flatter, lighter, and uses richer colors and iconsets. While I hadn’t necessarily been looking at Gmail as if it was in dire need of sprucing up, now that I see this, I can see how the purportedly new design lines up much better with other Google products.
You can tell that they are trying to build upon some of the design cues introduced in Google Plus, which if nothing else is a wonderfully designed service. Check out the screen capture below to see how the current version of Google Plus compares to the alleged Gmail redesign.
Other images provided show a new placement of Hangouts as a slide-out menu on the right, as well. Starred emails appear to be replaced by pins instead, which is probably a more accurate term and visual cue for what it means to star an email. Overall, we can see a more minimalistic and clean interface in the works.
The addition of a sidebar makes sense as mobile design conventions start to move to bigger screens. I much prefer a slide-out sidebar to both an ever-present toolbar as is present for Gmail currently and for the app launcher in the top right across Google sites for navigating from service to service. Check out some screen captures below of these new features, including zoomed-in versions so you can see more closely.
This leak comes on the heels of a supposed mobile Gmail app redesign, which unsurprisingly has a similar design. Here’s a screen capture of that:
Chances are, the end product that reaches the public will look different from these. With Gmail especially, Google tends to be quite slow and deliberate when making changes. Too many people have highly personal workflows and would have an adverse reaction to changes, even when beneficial. Look for a gradual and optional rollout whenever Google finishes testing these features.