Google Calendar’s redesign launched last week 🎉 and it’s bursting with juicy UX decisions.
In this article, I’ll dig into:
- The Google calendar team’s approach to new feature discovery: a strategy for promoting new features without disrupting workflows.
- The value in separating view and edit tasks: How understanding users’ goals, or jobs to be done (JTBD), can inform design decisions.
- Google material design patterns: How good design patterns support usability on various pages.
1. New feature discovery
Launching visual or functional changes to your product is both exciting and terrifying. On one hand, you’re probably creating new value for people using that product or feature! On the other hand, change always brings some level of discomfort. It’s important to give people time to ease into change—which makes the discovery process (how people learn and explore new designs or features), a critical piece of a projects’ overall success.
In other words, managing the discovery of a new feature is a balancing act of promotion without interference, and I think Google’s calendar team almost nailed it with the discovery of this calendar redesign.
Specifically, the raised button in the top right corner of the calendar overview page was an elegant solution to help people discover the new calendar feature—without interrupting their ability to use the original tools that they’re familiar with. This approach is like saying: “Go ahead and continue planning your day/week/life as usual! But hey, whenever you’re ready we’ve got a new design for you!”
The upgrade button doesn’t interfere with any established workflows, but strategically positioned and styled to be noticeable for observant users or those seeking the upgrade.
Now, my only hesitation with this new feature discovery flow is the excessive hand-holding during the switching process. 🤝 Specifically, the decision to “Use new Calendar” requires three clicks (including two blocking prompts that require approval), and repeated content that immediately becomes redundant. The actions and content are:
- Use new Calendar
• I’m thinking: “Ok, yeah I’m ready to use the new calendar! Let’s do this!”
- Upgrade now (“A fresh look for Calendar: Our updated design makes it even easier for you to manage your time”)
• I’m thinking: “I already knew it was an updated design, but maybe it’s helpful for other people to build confidence? Anyways, I’m ready! Let’s do this!”
- Got it (Immediately repeated copy: “A fresh look for Calendar: Our updated design makes it even easier for you to manage your time”)
• I’m thinking: “Wow. Didn’t you just tell me this exact same thing? I mean, the illustration is pretty and all but I just want to start exploring the new calendar…Let’s do this (for real this time please!!)”
Despite being three clicks, and including some repeated text, getting to the new calendar was still fairly fast. Overall, I’d say the Google calendar team took a great approach to new feature discovery; it’s subtle but easy to find if you’re ready for it. It’s also super flexible (allowing people to revert back to the old calendar if the change is too abrupt is a generous move since it now means Google needs to assign resources to maintain both calendars).
The flexibility might cost a bit extra in the short term, but it’s a great way to build trust and loyalty in the Google Calendar product. And the decision to collect feedback when someone does choose to revert is genius—that insight will help the team continue to improve the new design, until it’s eventually so good that they can sunset the old version. Bravo!