Google Voice UIFAIL

Jun - 10 2017 | By

I’ve been using Google Voice for years. I use it for business calls because I can’t afford extra features on my land line (or get a cell phone). It has worked well for me. Voicemail and messages have allowed me to return missed calls when people call me about computer problems. It’s been great. And then this “New look” blight struck.

Instead of a straightforward, easily readable and manageable interface in which textual information dominates, I am stuck with ugly little cartoon-ballons, barely readable tiny font with too little contrast, scattered all over the glaring-white page. No way to delete more than one message at a time, and too many clicks to do just that one.

I am visually impaired, with advanced glaucoma. A clean, readable interface is extremely important to me. Nearly every time I open my dedicated gmail/voice browser, I have to scroll down to “Legacy Google Voice” near the bottom of a well-hidden menu in order to do anything.

It may be that some people like orange blobs; after all, many Americans voted for one. For me, the new interface is nothing but an annoyance. I live in fear that the sensible interface I NEED may be completely taken away at any time. WHY, for Heaven’s sake, can’t it be made a PERMANENT option for those who NEED it? What does Google have against usability? Do you hate the disabled? Please don’t suggest using a screen reader! I don’t need that! All I need is the ability to define a readable font size, and a sensibly organized, accessible interface.

Oh, by the way, in case anyone is tempted to slap me in the face with web browser discrimination, forget it — it’s not my choice of browser that creates the problem. My dedicated g-browser is Google Chrome. I only use it for mail/voice because it, too, has usability issues. Not being able to zoom text apart from images is an enormous handicap.

On top of it all, the “Send feedback” dialog of gvoice is SO WELL HIDDEN at the bottom of both the old gvoice sidebar and the new menu when the font size is readable that I needed help to find it. Plus, it says “include a screenshot” but will not accept screnshots that actually illustrate the problem. It insists on MAKING the screenshot itself, which means that, since I have adjusted my settings in order to be able to use the feedback form, the screenshot will be useless.

So, here are the screenshots that actually illustrate the problem, and a shot of the dickheadedly rigid feedback form. Names and numbers have been blurred out. Click to see full-size.

readable

hard to read

feedback form

Note the size of the feedback form. It is unchangeable. Making the font size readable only shoves the buttons over the edge. With a font size that I can read, I can see only three short lines of text in the input box. If I want to do more than tweet, I need to compose my rant in a text editor and paste it in.