Saturday, November 5, 2011

The New Presentations Editor / Prelude to "The Google Way"

Just as a preface...I am slightly annoyed as I write this post...

The new Presentations editor has been available as an opt-in feature for the past few weeks now.  A lot of users have been posting about their experience so far but I wanted to make a few quick comments about what I've seen on the forums recently.

I am very surprised by the amount of negativity I've seen recently.  The new look for the Docs List has been out for 3 months, the new looks for all parts of the Docs Suite have been available for a while depending on which part of the suite you are using, and Google's global UI change is also being slowly applied across Google products.  For Docs, the newest roll out is the new Presentation editor.  One thing I don't users fully realize is that this is currently an opt-in feature.  This means that you don't have to use it and you have the option of using the old Presentations editor.  This is the Google way of doing things.  I have a post about my understanding of the Google way and whether or not I subscribe to it coming soon.  But for now, I want to make this point:

The new Presentation's editor is not in its final form and there is no reason to get worked up over a feature that isn't working correctly.  You are not being forced into using it hence the reason for the opt-in feature.  This is Google's way of a final testing for a new product.  They fully expect things not to work correctly and hope that users bring these issues to the forefront by way of the forums.  This is simply a preview of what the new editor is going to be like once the old version is no longer supported.  I think we can all agree that the new editor is a step up from the old editor.

My thinking about the new Presentations editor also applies to the newer Docs List.  This has significantly improved since the new Docs List was presented in early August.  While I have no idea how long it will take before the classic view is no longer supported, it is important to note that it has been three months.  Serious Docs users should be trying to get used to the new look because soon this will be the only look for the Docs List.

Google is in the business of pushing out innovative features that might not be completely bug free.  If they sat around trying to make everything perfect then the innovation would be curbed.

As a user of many Google products on a daily basis, I provide the following advice.  Get to know the product you are using as well as you can.  Be open to the idea that things will change and that Google does A LOT of user experience research to find out where they should take the products.  When something new comes to a product you use, try to embrace it because most likely what you are seeing is the future of the product.  Also, it will be to your advantage to provide feedback via the links you can find in the product or on the Help Forums.  I'm not sure about the other forums but I know the Docs TCs do their best to be on top of the forums, on top of issues that users are saying, and also provide our own feedback to the Guides. At least in Docs, the Guides truly respect our opinions and trust us to represent the users.

I don't mean to be negative but I feel that the mood of the Docs forum has been inappropriately negative lately.  It is much easier to help someone who comes to the forums who is willing to be helped as opposed to someone who comes to the forums to just complain.

Disclaimer:  The views represented here are my own are not necessarily those of Google.