Grumpy Website


Default mode for GMail action panel is icons. Icons are great: they take little space, don’t need to be translated. Only one caveat: more often than not there’s no good, well-understood icon for your action.

In this GMail toolbar, the only one that more or less works is Trash (delete). Everything else is at best confusing:

- A box with downward arrow? What’s that? Put box down? Which box?

- Stop sign with exclamation mark — do not enter?

- Two envelopes in a stack. Who would’ve thought they mean Mark as Read? In the old version they gave up and put text label even in icon mode.

- Ok, clock now. This is universally undestood sign that could mean literally _anything_. What time is it?

- A folder with arrow pointing to the another arrow on the right? This means move, but even since Windows 95 days it was clear nobody is going to come up with a good metaphor for move. Nobody did.

- Right-pointing rectangle? This looks most like road sign pointing to some place, but actually means TAG. Huh?

- Finally, a Google invention, dropdown menu icon that’s three vertical dots. I never really understood what was wrong with a downward-pointing triangle or at least three horizontal dots? Why weren’t they working for them? Just for the sake of being different?

Luckily, this menu can be switched to text labels in Settings.