Google has tweaked the appearance of the compose button in Gmail’s Android app. First spotted by 9to5Google, the old button, a small “floating action button” with a plus in it, is now an oblong button containing a pen icon along with the word “Compose.” It minimizes into its old circle shape when you scroll down your list of emails. Ultimately, though, I’d still argue that the bottom-right of the screen is a bad place for the app’s most important button.
The bottom-right of the display is also where my thumb tends to hover when it’s not directly interacting with the screen, thus obscuring the button. I’m sure part of the appeal of putting a button there is that it’s within easy reach of your thumb (if you’re right-handed, that is), but for me it ends up having the opposite effect.
The floating action button is a key part of Google’s Material design guidelines, so unsurprisingly these buttons can be found across plenty of Android apps. Whether it’s Twitter, WhatsApp, OneNote, or ToDoist, most apps have their equivalent of their “create new” button on the bottom right of the screen. They’re pretty popular. But at least those apps use a solid block of contrasting colors to help the button pop off the display. Google, meanwhile, uses buttons with the same background color as the rest of the app, and relies heavily on a drop shadow to distinguish them.