This morning’s check of my RSS feeds produced a pleasant surprise. Google Reader’s previously rather ugly design has had a winter spring-clean with the heavy blue backgrounds toned down or replaced with a sprinkling of seasonal white snow.

Changes in design to heavily used sites or applications are not for the faint-hearted and are a common way of upsetting your most loyal users. RSS feed consumption is about speed and familiarity of the layout, but the redesign has addressed many of my grumbles.

Collapsable menus to decide what’s important to me on the page, not to Google. A cleaner, simpler design, easier on the eye. More white may be a design cliche, but it works.

The only real remaining grumble is that the ‘home’ page still looks cluttered and an area where Google of all people should know that less is more. I’d like to be able to configure the homepage to remove the recommendations, collapse the starred/shared items and select which feeds appear as defaults on the page.