Google Docs Toolbar Touched Up

    March 26, 2008

If you’re a creature of habit, sorry.  But if you’re either someone who appreciates efficiency or a complete newcomer to Google Docs, you may be happy to hear that application has had its menus redesigned.

Google Doc's New Toolbar
 Redesigned Google Docs

Darren Delaye, a user experience designer, writes, "[O]ur Docs User Research team worked on a ‘card-sort’ study in which we disconnected all features in the application from the places we had put them in the UI, and asked some people what the labels and icons meant to them, and how they would group the concepts they represented."

The team then shifted features in response to its findings, and, well, what you see (in the screenshot) is what you get.

Again, we know some users will have gotten used to the old layout.  And in at least one case, it seems like the User Research team is screwing around.  Delaye admits, "About a month ago, we removed the ‘Save’ and ‘Save & close’ buttons from the upper right hand corner of Docs when you’re editing documents.  For those of you who told us that those buttons were useful and that you missed them, you’ll be happy to see that we’ve brought them back!"

It’s hard to argue with increased usability, though, and Google’s no doubt focusing on this as part of its ongoing endeavor to drag people away from Word.