Google, I wake up this morning to a new UI in my gMail and within 15 seconds you have managed to completely disrupt my email browsing experience that I have come to know and expect. I don’t mind when you tinker with the global NAV in it’s utility bar format, that’s fine. You tried to convince me that Wave was meaningful but we all know it’s name was a sign of it’s inevitable fate. I turned Buzz off as fast as you turned it on for me.

I can take all of that in stride, but why change the global nav completely and introduce a significant amount of clicks for me to accomplish the same tasks?! And why change the way I have to navigate gMail? It’s now 2 clicks instead of one to get back to the inbox. What’s going on over there? Has the wild success of G+ gone to your head? (Joking about the wild success part, of course)

Exhibit 1. Old Header Navigation

Simple conventions. Clearly presented and easy to use.

Exhibit 2. New Header Navigation

All navigation hidden from view. Interaction to view navigation options increased by 100%.

Interaction to view navigation options increased by 200% if you want to view Calendar. See below…

Exhibit 3. New Header Navigation:Hover

Exhibit 4. New gMail Navigation:Hover

Two main issues here.
1) You replaced a very familiar interactive element inside gMail, the logo, which always linked to the inbox. In its place lie the new global navigation discussed above.
2) On top of that you turned the gMail logo/header into a drop down navigation menu as well! Now I have to hover + click to even get back to the inbox!

How much testing did you guys do before you rolled this out? Seriously.