Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Google Debuts a Standalone To-Do App, Google Tasks

Sarah Perez, TechCrunch:

Along with today’s big reveal of the redesigned version of Gmail, Google also more quietly introduced a new app that ties into its suite of productivity applications: Google Tasks. The app, as the name implies, offers you a dedicated place to create, view and edit your task list and to-dos, including those created from within the new Gmail or from Google Calendar.

Like most Google apps, Tasks feels like you’re using an Android app that has been lazily ported to iOS. Unlike most of their other apps, though, Tasks uses an inconsistent mix of Roboto, their old brand typeface, and Product Sans, their new one. The two faces don’t look good together — it’s like when Apple shipped apps that used both Helvetica and Lucida Grande.

According to their announcement of Product Sans and their new logo, the typeface was supposed to be used in promotional materials and lockups, but there’s no mention of it being used for product UIs. In fact, the only other product I can find that has this same inconsistent mix is the new Gmail.com, also previewed today.

It isn’t just about what these typefaces look like, either, but how they’re used. For example, when entering a new task, the name of the task is set in Product Sans; when it is added to the list, it becomes Roboto. Tapping on the task takes you to a details view where, now, the name of the task is in Product Sans. There are three options to add more information: if you want to add details, you’ll do it in Roboto, but adding a due date will be in Product Sans. The “add subtasks” button — well, text in the same grey as everything else except other buttons that are blue — is set in Product Sans, but the tasks are set in Roboto.

I sound like I’m nitpicking, but I’m really not. This is a simple app; the only reason it has added complexity and confusion is because Google wants their iOS apps to look like their Android apps.