Google Plus is a new product from Google that seems to be a Facebook-like social application. It also seems to supercede Google Buzz. It is sort of integrated into GMail.

It offers a number of UX innovations and provides a different experience than its chief competitors, commonly identified as Facebook and Twitter.

What are some notable UX aspects of Google+ and are they good or bad?

Interesting article about some usability issues in Google Plus. - CNET

closed as not a real question by Charles Boyung, Patrick McElhaney Jul 14 '11 at 22:59

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    Vitaly, that is the craziest edit I have ever seen. It actually made me laugh. – Glen Lipka Jul 12 '11 at 15:42
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    @Glen I know you have no problem rolling back to previous revisions when you don't like the edit, so I suppose you meant this in a good way :). I tried to find a way to make the question more in line with the SE guidelines without taking away your original meaning. – Vitaly Mijiritsky Jul 12 '11 at 19:42
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    A more minor change, I would have rolled back. I got your intent which if I might put words in your mouth, "What would be a good format for 'whole product' ux questions and let's use Google Plus as a template." I'm fine with your edit. :) – Glen Lipka Jul 12 '11 at 20:14
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    @SteveWortham @Matt. Please discuss invites and other issues unrelated to this question in chat rather than the comments. – Rahul Jul 13 '11 at 20:08

Did anyone see the "Send Feedback" functionality in the bottom right corner? That is by far my favorite interaction on the site and I wish I could somehow implement it on my website.

The other thing that I really like about G+ is the integration with the rest of the products and the general update of every interface that I use. The notification bar at the top is helpful while still being small enough to ignore.

  • I didnt notice the feedback thing. It's pretty innovative. I think the integration in some ways is cool, but it's also invasive. It scares me. – Glen Lipka Jul 13 '11 at 16:25
  • If you liked the question, click reopen at the top. – Glen Lipka Jul 18 '11 at 16:09

It's a reasonably clean and intuitive interface. The major problem I'm having with it is its management of circles.

It's fine if you only have a few contacts or a few circles — you can drag and drop contacts onto your circles and hover over them to see who's in them. But once you have more than one row of circles and more than a couple of rows of contacts, it gets icky, pretty quickly. Want to see who's in one of your circles? Hmm, it only shows 13 (the first 13 you added?) when you hover over it. Want to add one of the 100-odd people you're connected with to a new circle? You can sort contacts (though I'm at a loss to explain how "sort by relevance" works), or scroll through rows of 7 contacts at a time until you find the person you want (time-consuming, and feels like a very inefficient visual search) — but a much better way is just to type the person's name in the search box at the top, though this will also show you people with similar names whom you don't know.

However, the worst aspect of circles management for me is that if you have more than one row of circles, the default view is that the bottom third of the screen becomes its own scrollable area and you have to scroll down within that to view those circles (or drag contacts into them). There also appears to be no way of sorting or moving your circles around (for example so that the most commonly used circles appear on the top line to avoid the need to scroll down so often) — this is crazy. Of course, you could delete them all and start again, but that loses its appeal once you have a great many contacts; very fiddly, and you'd have to keep track of who you'd already done and who you hadn't.

I like that the contacts listed on the circles page are sortable, and I like that the icons are visible to permit quick visual search. And broadly, I like the conceit of dragging and dropping contacts into circles. But I really don't think it scales well, as I've outlined here. Also, from a UI point of view. I'm not convinced that dividing the screen into two letterbox-style horizontal panes is the best way to manage the process: I'd rather have seen two vertical, scrollable panes, with sortable contact lists and sortable circles (it could still utilise drag and drop). Scrolling up and down inside two very wide, very shallow panes just isn't that great an experience.

  • Im going to throw this out there: Circles are good in theory, but I hate the UI for them. – Glen Lipka Jul 13 '11 at 16:28
  • I'd buy that. Certainly it's delivers better control over who reads what than I understand Facebook does, but I'm not convinced the current UI is anything near optimal. – finiteattention Jul 13 '11 at 20:52
  • If you liked the question, click reopen at the top. – Glen Lipka Jul 18 '11 at 16:09

The first time experience.

Using this for the first time, it was somewhat easy to navigate, but there were a lot of new ideas such as circles etc. I really loved the way that it guided me through these new things with subtle "pop-ups" that weren't quite pop ups, they would appear on the page alongside the content. To close them, they had buttons that said things like "Ok I got it" rather than "close" or "ok". That really helps a lot. It's only a couple of words, but it sets a tone and makes me feel like I'm talking with someone rather than a computer. This experience really made me have fun learning the interface without annoying me, and I was up an running within a few minutes.

We will see how it ends up; if it is widely adopted or not. But so far Google seems to know what they are doing. As with most things that Google does, there was probably a LOT of user testing to back this first time experience technique, seeing as it felt comfortable and natural. I am going to take a lot of inspiration from this going forward and designing new GUIs myself.

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    Id love to know how much testing they did of the ramp up. I agree the tone is excellent/friendly. I wish more business apps acted that way. – Glen Lipka Jul 13 '11 at 16:26
  • If you liked the question, click reopen at the top. – Glen Lipka Jul 18 '11 at 16:08

I quite like the minimal use of colours. It draws attention to being able to see the notifications.

That said, there's a vast array of minor gripes I have with the UX as a whole. The two that I find most annoying and can recall off the top of my head:

  • there's too much information shown at any given time
  • the thread I'm viewing doesn't update automatically as users comment

For me, it feels like twitter a cross between twitter and facebook but not nearly as simple as either and while it might have a lot going for it, that puts me off.

  • I tend to agree. Do you think it's just a v1 issue and they will fix it? Normally, their design is so spartan. – Glen Lipka Jul 12 '11 at 16:29
  • I hope so. I've always felt UX is something that evolves over time, so hopefully this isn't an exception. – djlumley Jul 13 '11 at 23:11
  • If you liked the question, click reopen at the top. – Glen Lipka Jul 18 '11 at 16:08

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