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Author Topic: Helvetica makes google beautiful again, greasemonkey scripts for tired eyes  (Read 5196 times)

housetier

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I extensively use a few applications from google: mail, reader, calendar. From the beginning I was put off by their design but had gotten used to it.

Then I heard about Google Redesigned which was different and therefore better then the default look. It is quite a solid extension, with only a few very minor kinks.

But then I lifehacker mentioned helvetireader, helvetimail, or helvetical (I forgot which of those 3), and I became very much intrigued.

These are scripts for either greasemonkey or stylish; I chose the greasemonkey variant because I already had greasemonkey installed.

What these do is to dramatically reduce the visual noise on the applications' websites. I copied (copying is not stealing) screenshots from each project's website. Behold the beauty of Helvetica!

Helvetimail:
helvetimail_screenshot.png

Helvetireader:
helvetireader_screenshot.jpg

Helvetical:
helvetical_screenshot.png


Between Google Redesigned (GR) and Helveti*, I am currently strongly in favor of Helvetica. However, GR integration is smoother: the new style is active "before" the google application is loaded, while the greasemonkey scripts seem to wait until the browser finished loading to then activate their style.

Both GR and Helveti* are much more visually appealing than google's default look.

tomos

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I'd thought I'd like it (Helvetimail) but I actually found it harder to read than the straight-forward minimalist theme (not sure what the font there is?)
Tom

tranglos

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The Helveti* designs look really good! I don't care for GR much though, it's all too dark. So, is there a free Helvetica Unicode font that supports more than the Western-European script? Does anyone know?

But I would not be my old niggling self, if I didn't remark on this, from the description of Helvetireader:

In particular, it's made for looking at just unread feeds in the expanded view, using Keyboard Shortcuts instead of on-screen buttons.

This is a deal-breaker for me, because in Firefox I find it more convenient to use the keyboard for instant incremental search instead. And in Firefox you can have one (incremental search) or the other (Google shortcuts), but not both. Perhaps this is yet another reason why web apps may be a win for developers, but are usually a loss for users? (Something I tried to get across in this thread.)

housetier

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Using vimperator you can switch: either pass keystrokes on to the webapp, or treat them as, well, "vimperator commands". (Searching is done in vimp with "/" btw.)

Anyway, checking for and reading unread posts is exactly what I do in google reader, using my keyboard. It really matches my work flow.