Why Google+ Sucks and What to Do About It (Pre and after 2013)

Google+ gets a C- in User Experience

Last week Google hosted their annual conference the Google I/O and released a new version of Google Plus.

The new one is an improvement, but still a major frustration for the majority of the people in my network. Even though they claim to have massive user growth rates, most of my friends said they just got pushed into using Google+ while checking GMail or other products and it’s extremely confusing and annoying. Not a good mark.

Therefore, I created a slide deck documenting the design issues Google+ has and the frustrations it could bring to users, in hopes that it would get the attention of Google so it could start to improve and actually become a site that people would love.

The slide deck is 129 slides, but don’t let that intimate you, as most slides only have one sentence in them and it reads quickly and I’ve heard it brings out quite a few laughs. Enjoy.

Some Big Takeaways

  • Google+ has a lot of users, but very few people use it – just check out how many people +1ed the Google Blog compared to Facebook Likes
  • The reason why this happens is primarily because people on the Google team are too smart, and cannot empathize with the mainstream user (like my mom)
  • A great product makes mainstream users FEEL smart
  • If users spend more than 4 seconds trying to find something, they already start to feel dumb
  • Typing in to get to the site is already a big barrier for the mainstream user to use
  • Automatic push-downs of content while people are still reading
  • Google+ has a large amount of “navigation spaces,” which makes it incredibly confusing for the user (and 3 more dropdown lists!)
  • Semi-Spammy Suggestions look like content, and content looks like Ads
  • Editing background information is really hard
  • Can’t really “Find” friends based on any criteria
  • Getting to people’s profiles and photos is a huge pain (People -> Your Circle -> Search for Friend -> Double Click -> Profile)
  • Auto-notifications really intrude into the Email space and settings are confusing to adjust
  • “Trending Topics” show posts from last year!
  • Google Hangout asks users to crash into random stranger’s conversations – awkward
  • Local only gives an odd recommendation that is not needed.
  • Socializing with users is hard
  • When it comes to social, don’t focus on being smart. Focus on making your users feel smart
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