It was like that in the earlier days. Every update kept reducing the amount of visible content, and severe reductions in density. Here is a screenshot of my screen - http://i.imgur.com/fM2WIVf.png (1920x1200) - almost two million pixels. There are a total of 7 (yes seven) sentences of article and 5 sentences of comments. I have to click and/or scroll to see anything more. (This is their densest layout - the single column version has a total of 4 sentences.)
With Reader they had a community of people who read a lot, and an interface design that worked well for doing that. They took that away. By not having access via an open standard like RSS for G+ streams, they don't even allow alternative interfaces that can address their problems.
I can only conclude that the people who persevere with G+ do so despite it, not because of it. They must also be very patient and do a heck of a lot of scrolling.
I disagree-- it would appear to be exactly the opposite if you look at current design trends (checkout dribbble.com), cards look to be a very big yes-yes in the design community. I believe googles implementation of the cards within Google+ very poor UX. If they made each card the same height so your eyes can move about the page more orderly it might make Google+ more palatable. You are right in that it is very hard to digest the content with that design.
Design is only a part of the experience, most of the value comes from usefulness.
Pinterest is mainly focused on pictures and its users like to scroll at leisure through long lists, collecting items that catch their eye. On the other hand, G+ is more focused on reading single articles: notice an interesting headline, read the first few lines, click to read more.
This distinction between grazing for images and hunting for text articles is why lack of horizontal alignment makes Pinterest more enjoyable and G+ harder to use.
Interesting. Could you provide any links/citations for this?
I ask because it feels like practically every designer I talk with these days wants to force a card layout onto everything (even text-oriented sites) and I'd love to hear the other side.
I mean look at the front of hacker news.
But a pretty strong argument can be made that, for sites focused primarily on text and reading, simple layouts may sometimes sometimes be better than complex ones.
As for designing sites focused on reading, I wholeheartedly agree with this: http://motherfuckingwebsite.com.
Other than this, I agree. Black on white is fine, and hell no, don't make the background slightly gray. If my display is too bright I turn the brightness down.
Why are the default styles so bad?
1. What is wrong with leaving HTML completely unstyled and allowing the browser to apply its defaults?
2. Why is it that the default settings applied by (most) browsers are so awful?
The answer to the first is pretty much, as another HNer noted, the topic of the Better Motherfucking Website page. The defaults suck.
Why the defaults suck is ... probably an accident of history that's difficult to undo. Browsers default to no margins and a whole slew of other stuff, and CSS requires that you either start from known defaults or explicitly style each and every element.
If every browser used its own distinct set of deviations-from-default for various entities, CSS would be even more of a hack than it already is.
Some of the fault also surely lies with standards organisations, including the W3C. If they elected for specific defaults to be applied to all pages, and, by some miracle, browser vendors actually adhered to these, you could conceivably have a world in which most Web pages didn't need much if any styling, and where users could choose to apply default styling to pages.
I do this presently via uBlock and uMatrix on desktop, and via ReaderMode on Mobile. I virtually always prefer the simplified, standardised view to a site's native design.
You've asked a simple question, but a deep one.
Fortunately, we have stuff like normalize.css (https://necolas.github.io/normalize.css/) nowadays.
The "GenPop" don't even know this site exists and, if they did, would be turned away by the content, not the layout.
That argument is made here often, that somehow liking the plainness of HN's layout is a shibboleth to detect quality users, but i've never really bought into it. Sites like Craigslist, Reddit and 4chan manage to do quite will with relatively simple looks and broader appeal.
EDIT: I found one quote:
"So the most important thing a community site can do is attract the kind of people it wants. A site trying to be as big as possible wants to attract everyone. But a site aiming at a particular subset of users has to attract just those—and just as importantly, repel everyone else. I've made a conscious effort to do this on HN. The graphic design is as plain as possible, and the site rules discourage dramatic link titles. The goal is that the only thing to interest someone arriving at HN for the first time should be the ideas expressed there."
That I agree 100% with. I too believe that. Hell, I find myself liking simple layouts more than what's the usual startup trend for pretty backgrounds (and background videos; whoever does that deserves to have their Internet access limited to crappy 3G modem with fixed rate of $0.1/MB) and fluff.
Personally, I think HN is actually too simple. Reddit seems uglier, but they have lots of very small features that greatly support discussion on the site. I actually think that the interface for general discussion on-line lies somewhere between HN and Reddit - simple but useful tree-like forum.
Also, the orange bar is basically the single visual element that makes HN HN, so I don't know why people would even like to customize it...
There's some mystery here.
It assumes fixed screen / viewport widths and font sizes. Foreground / background contrast is poor. The more code: collapsable subthreads.
Otherwise, it's a basic text-heavy design for a text-heavy site.
Therefore it's almost great design. Up/down buttons too close together for reliable use on touch screens (because of the inability to correct a mistap) is what's keeping it one step short of greatness.
Design is experience. Graphic design is almost orthogonal.
I really wonder why they decided to change it.
There's some comment about the low attention span we force on executives by making them take 1000s of decisions per day that they aren't even experts in and rewarding them for it in all this.
> but suddenly you needed to scroll up and down to be able to read both columns.
I guess many of us don't read any column in google plus, we just glance them and take a closer look at a few things.
> I really wonder why they decided to change it.
I have a couple of reasons why they might have done it:
1.The focus is on lots of short-form (think twitterish).
2. Stacking smaller blocks sideways neatly lets you format posts themselves the same way in multiple screen resolutions.
Twitter is a darling it seems despite wasting most of my screen.
Google plus is hated for everything despite being IMO a better product both technically and design-wise.
From what I understood in the post and a few reviews of it, Google don't (and shouldn't) want to compete with Facebook in friend cross-posting interaction activities.
> Making consumption choice-free, decision-free and friction-free should be the guiding principle in all social apps.
In what world is that true? The point of social interaction enabling apps is to increase the likelihood of users regularly choosing to abandon passive consumption and interact with things. Friction is the only thing in your maxim that makes sense I'm afraid.
My articles are normally either in list or magazine views, and only graphically-heavy feed groups (like comics or photos) are in card view.
But thanks for the example.
Unfortunately, I think Google people know and they just don't care. They don't want people who know what RSS is, people who care about information density; they are going after the Pinterest crowd, the sort of people who read Cosmopolitan, watch reality shows, and post drunken pics on Facebook.
Who actually thinks that all that padding and those stupid navbars are a good idea? On mobile my screen estate is very valuable and I don't want to waste it on unnecessary things.
Negative space would be allowing the space between items to create a division instead of the borders and shadows.
Although my assumption here is front end designers are often subjected to death by a thousand revisions from 'the suits'.
Also, reddit is different as a consumption medium, rather than news aggregator. With reddit, you consume. With HN, you peruse.
I also don't understand the redesign. The old version is way better then the new version, but I guess it just does not look flat and material enough.
That's more than I can say for many, many other things, where whether I like it or not I'm forced to have the latest design fad (flat, pastel colours, long and inefficient animations and huge, unnecessary padding nowadays) shoved down my throat.
Try this my redesign reddit. http://reddit.premii.com/ I hope reddit does something like this, and let user configure layout for each subreddit.
iPhone doesn't have a hardware back button, and most people don't know you can navigate back by swiping.
I will add tracking in http://hn.premii.com/ to see how many user uses in landscape mode vs portrait.
Hiding navbar in the landscape mode is an option.
Spot on. Desktop pages are just as bad. It seriously annoys to no end. If it was a paid service, I could understand.
Pinterest is very information dense. It utilizes every inch of screen space, and it does so without looking cramped at all. It's a huge design success.
I treat it as a source of inspiration, not information.
One of the concerns I have is that we may end up moving to a very image-oriented media that finds it difficult to meaningfully communicate certain thoughts - and perhaps encourages an audience largely unable and/or unwilling to meaningfully attempt to understand them.
That crowd is way bigger than the crowd that hangs out at places like HN. So it would make sense for G+ to go after them, no? This is a numbers game.
Companies running for the same average Joe and forgetting about other groups of people leads to quick deaths of services.
I'd argue that the issue isn't numbers, but relevance. G+ is lousy in many ways but has a few small areas of success, notably its Notifications mechanic, a community which, for me, works fairly well, and a search which while pathetically under-featured is comprehensive and fast.
Winning the numbers game for social vs. Facebook in its current incarnation is a fool's errand. Numerous people have pointed this out, including ex-Googlers pointing at the "Interest Graph" (though suggestions for following / pursuing this date to the first few months of G+).
If Google does grab the Cosmo crowd, that's fine, so long as it doesn't also chase off the Nature/PLOS crowd in the process. Unfortunately, Google's proven more than happy to sling absolute snot (as in the G+ "What Snot" feature ... oh, no, that's "What's Hot").
Power users learn how to disable that instantly.
Inferring a bit much there?
This is the incentive gradient that's present everywhere, especially on the Internet - that's why I personally won't mind if ad blocking will kill all ad-supported websites. I'll call it good riddance.
If this is the case, then it probably means that a majority of people find the less-dense layout easier to read. It would also explain why Reader didn't have enough usage to keep Google interested.
Maybe. But the service doesn't exist for the people using it to read, or to post either for that matter. They're not paying for it. If Google knows people would rather a different layout but don't care, it's because the people who are paying for it prefer it this way.
The thing about RSS is that it is a good match for providing a feed. By Google not providing that sort of thing, you have to use their user interface. Others can't try experiments, cater to certain usage styles, or introduce new ways of using the service. You'll note that twitter had that vibrant experimentation and growth, until they decided to cut that possibility in 2011 - http://fortune.com/2015/10/21/twitter-jack-dorsey-apology/
UI design is largely about directing flow. Scrolling down is certainly not the end of the world, and hiding less-commonly used features helps make those which are used stand out.
BRU is an extreme case, but it's clear that it is a tool. Spend 5 minutes looking at it / reading a manual, and you'll be infinitely more productive with it than with whatever the beautiful UX artpiece du jour is.
And honestly, I'm tired of this dumbing down (= making useless) of everything. General-purpose computing is a very powerful technology and we're absolutely underutilizing it.
Mixing consoles also look complicated to a first-time user but I don't think anyone would argue that they need simplification.
Interestingly, Apple News app on the iPad uses cards and a simple layout, yet seems to work well and with no stuttering. This cannot be said for Google+ (and no, I don't want to join communities, stop showing them to me).
Whether a tool needs learning beforehand or not determines how likely you are to try the tool in the first place (by estimating whether the expected result justifies the effort), and how likely you are to actually be able to use the tool to solve that problem successfully.
It helps to determine what the real goal is in this case. It is not really "allow me to browse through lots of headlines at maximum efficiency", but something more like "entertain me and let me keep in touch with people".
>You dumbass. You thought you needed media queries to be responsive, but no. Responsive means that it responds to whatever motherfucking screensize it's viewed on. This site doesn't care if you're on an iMac or a motherfucking Tamagotchi.
Except that it's really hard to read on a wide screen. I get it - it's a satire - but it goes too far and fails to make a convincing point because it's not really a functional layout.
There are good reasons for things in design like column/page width/ratios, margins, line spacing, font family/size etc. purely from usability standpoint (ignoring subjective/stylistic choices). You don't need to add 10MB of images and JS/CSS but making sure your sentence doesn't span over 20 something inches isn't over designing things.
Third link is much better.
I think the issue is - who gets to decide how wide the content is. Is it the user or the website? Or to put it another way, does the act of maximizing a window represent an intent or does it represent a default error state that needs to be worked around by laying out the content in a different way.
I think that the user should get to decide how wide they want the content to be. For almost all GUI applications 'Maximize' has always meant "I want to see more of it".
>There are good reasons for things in design like column/page width/ratios, margins, line spacing, font family/size etc. purely from usability standpoint (ignoring subjective/stylistic choices).
What are those non-subjective reasons?
This is why CSS exists - it separates style from content - if you want what that site has just disable all CSS and you'll get raw content.
>What are those non-subjective reasons?
There are things like optimal line length based on eye travel distance and a bunch of "defaults" that have been found trough centuries of experience in design/print. I don't do design professionally so I don't remember the exact rules but I did take design classes back in high school so I know they exist - I'll let someone who's an expert fill in on what they are :D
I'm spending a great deal of time with a colleague who has significant visual impairments and who, while a domain expert in their own areas, is neither particularly proficient with computer technology nor do they wish to be (there are certain prerogatives which come with age).
Hiding tools for compensating for poor accessibility design behind small, faint, hard-to-see, only-sometimes-visible, and/or other graphical elements is sheer madness.
Case in point: recent builds of Firefox have a "reader mode" feature, which I use heavily (my own visual capabilities are largely intact, but, well, 99.99966% of Web design is crap).
1. Is faint.
2. Appears at a corner of the navigation box. E.g., it's not at a Fitts point (top of screen, corner).
3. Worst and most unforgivably: it only appears AFTER a page has fully loaded, doesn't appear on all pages, and cannot be specified as a default (e.g., always open pages in Readability mode, unless broken).
From a UI/UX standpoint for someone who is already visually disabled this is unforgivable.
(Yes, I've submitted feedback to Mozilla on this.)
Slightly more seriously, maybe the sane default should be a sane window size for the browser. Not everything needs to be fullscreen. Or maybe the browser window could be wide but could present a narrower viewport in appropriate circumstances. There has to be something better than having every web site separately specify whatever it thinks is a reasonable reading width.
That's an actual news website.
Although in Keep sometimes you can change the view and it just ignores your setting, reverting back to the default layout. Keep seems like one of those things they never dogfooded.
Like the way you open Keep on the web and it loads your entire history in the initial page load. Making the page load take 20-30 seconds (and stall the browser in the meantime) if you have a significant history. And being sluggish no matter what you want to do with it after that. Even if you just want to see your last few notes quickly, or add a new one, which is what I usually want to do. How could a product possibly get created like that if the creators are using it with a non-trivial amount of data?
It is a setting. I mentioned in my comment that you can switch to that layout and get a total of 4 sentences on the screen. And a lot of white space.
My pet peeve with Keep is how it keeps rearranging lists as the page is loading. I can't work out what the criteria is, but can rule out most recently changed and most recently used.
Definitely a case of style over function. It's really frustrating.
And, frankly, I've got less than zero interest in my activities on YouTube being public in any regard. I've created a randomly generated name for my latest Android device and even there I cannot compile lists of vidoes for my own use without making them public. At least not on YouTube itself.
So I don't do that.
And "Google pulling the rug from under your feet"... please let's stop this ridiculous meme. Any company is entitled to withdraw a free service, and if you don't agree then go right ahead and develop a replacement for Reader. After five years of development and hosting costs with thankless users demanding new features and old interfaces all for free, I bet you'd pull the plug too.
The mobile YouTube app being a prime example.
>Join Google+ by creating your public profile
I don't want a Public Profile. I don't need my gmail account to have a public profile. I don't need search engines, randos, nobodies, everybody to have access to my profile.
Why does Google mandate Public Profiles? I don't understand. Facebook does not mandate Public profiles (if you visit my Facebook page, it says 404 error page does not exist unless you are logged in and within friend of a friend distance to me).
One day Google will allow me to be apart of their network without mandating that I provide the public internet a profile.
And yes, I realize that aspects on the public profile can be manually disabled (it takes some 100-120 clicks to turn off every feature, one by one, even though the page itself remains public including your image and name).
You have to set your audience settings to "No one".
On Facebook, if I restrict my page and send you the link you will see: 404 error, page not found
On G+ if I follow your advice and send you the link you will see: <MY NAME> <MY PHOTO> has restricted this page.
It's still a fully public profile which resolves as a URL and contains real personal information (name+photo) that cannot be disabled.
But, yeah, I agree that G+ is dreadful.
For me, an anonymous white male, it's a small issue. But for a minority with an easily identified unique name, or a girl against whom someone would spend tons more effort to identify, a forced Public page including mandatory public information such as name and photo isn't just inconvenient, it's dangerous.
Charise Strandberg via Google+
Daniel Brinneman shared this via Google+
Antonio Valdés via Google+
In Tumblr it sort of works because nobody reads the "comments", instead some people share the content adding a note and the "comment thread" is actually a nested quote.
So many Youtube videos, so many blogger posts have this issue
I'm always surprised more people don't see how good this is.
When I browse Play.Google.Com, I see my friend's comments and ratings. That's invaluable to me.
person3: @friendname you'd like this
... and so on forever
If someone's referring something to someone, leave me out of it. That's not a comment to the OP nor to the masses. It's just cruft. You can allude to it "504 people shared this", but the detail is unnecessary.
They really need to stop imitating and start innovating. At this point I don't even think they know who they're targeting they're just trying to do a little bit of everything but they don't do it well enough for me to want to use it.
My main point is that Google's social products are all over the place. They're firing on all cylinders but not aiming at anything.
Speed is a feature
They're basically trying to brute force their way by now.
Which is fine, but I'm not that person, and that's not something I have a use for.
I would be surprised if one of the primary drivers of high CTR isn't the image, just like it is with other similar experiences.
Uh? IMHO pictures were their strongest point. They emphasise and manage pics better than FB.
As far as a comparison goes: both UI's leave me disappointed, but everyone i know is on facebook. I can think of 1 person who uses G+ with any regularity. By that measure, G+ loses every time.
This backfired because what people made the natural inference that the purpose of the former was to force use of the later when the opposite was what Google was aiming for. The purpose of the social network was to promote the unified login, but instead it poisoned the well.
New way: Concept of a "Google+ account" has been folded into the main Google Account as a new cross-service "About Me" account https://aboutme.google.com/ . Google+ (Social Network) is now just a client of the former, so the G+ website is shedding all the features related to its old dual system integrator role.
That's what I can make out, anyway.
The mobile design on Android is disconcerting to say the least, according to the material spec, tabs are at the top. Putting them at the bottom allows one handed navigation BUT is way too close to the navigation bar and usually cause many false taps.
It is small but this gets me every time and it is just such a gross usability fail. Maybe this is unfair but I have a hard time getting past it to give g+ a chance when my first explorations smacks me with an experience that is so poorly constructed and violates so many obvious usability best practices.
Quite a few photographers there as well, though I haven't looked for a year or two...
Ingress players, mostly. I think some of the largest and most active communities on the site deal with the game, and given how the game is stagnant and (at least in my region) people are losing interest, that's telling about G+ itself.
Facebook, OTOH, has a design which is way too "busy". And never mind that both Facebook and G+ are walled-gardens anyway. I need to just convince more of my friends to join up with GNU Social.
Google seems to lead some charges (i.e. Android) but definitely don't have the third-time's-the-charm luck. Maybe these are mutually exclusive properties of different organizational principles.
Now they are trying to be a Reddit.
So, I end up reading all the headlines from the left column, scrolling back to the stop, reading the second column, then scrolling back up for the third column.
I've tried to use Google+ on my Android device and the experience is awful. You get a few words and a huge picture that doesn't tell you anything about the post.
Add to this - recently some of the results go to a white-labeled community site: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/analytics/oSR...
All I'm left with is the pages from companies that are active on Google Plus in the attempt to give Google a social signal and sway Google's page rank in their favor.
Edit: to add, those companies are friend's companies and current and former employers. These companies asked all their employees to add them and get pester their social networks to add them as well.
That being said, I have found some communities on google+ that overwhelmed the negatives and I found myself using it anyway. There are some communities that aren't anywhere else.
The previous Google+ site took an AVERAGE of 12 seconds to load, and was 22 MB when gzipped. This company, which once wrote a blog called "speed matters", where they announced they'd penalize sites for slow loading, had an average page load of 12 seconds on their social network. (For single-threaded browsers like Firefox, it'd actually freeze up the browser for about ten of those seconds.)
I'm not super fond of the design, but what I am super fond of, is that Google+ no longer crashes my web browser.
1. Google have previewed this as an optional experience
2. Which users can roll back from. Unlike earlier major releases, it's not dumped all-at-once, and it's not a "if you try it there's no going back" option (as CoverPhotos were a few years back).
2. The changes were undertaken with user-involvement. Google are loudly touting that they solicited input from users, even visiting them at home, to come up with the new design. Mind, I wasn't part of this, but that appears to be a striking change from previous roll-outs, which were very much "we know best" events.
Last December we saw a sneak preview of the New Google+ Development Process: a substantial change to the Notifications mechanism ... which was all but universally panned. I wrote a long and piquant post about how damned important G+'s Notifications mechanism was to the site (it's among the few parts of the service which are really quite compelling). Mucking with that is dangerous business.
In less than 24 hours, Google reversed the push.
I was absolutely stunned. Said so.
I'm not sure how the changes here will look, I'm using the Android client, not desktop, for the present. I suspect I'll have some sharp criticisms (I usually do). But I'm seeing some encouraging signs in the process.
As it is, I instead have to wait until it cycles around to look at any given image, which is rather frustrating.
I read stuff on G+ a lot, my preference being on my Note 4 rather than on a laptop size browser. Maybe it just because I have a lot of interesting people in my circles, but in any case there is usually a lot of interesting (and even useful) information.
If you want to find everyone, go to Facebook.
If you want discussion, Reddit.
Topics in depth, blogs.
High S/N: Metafilter.
This might be of interest: https://www.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/3hp41w/trackin...
Google had things figured out with its crisp white aesthetic. Superfluous cards and shadows (thanks Material Design) has borked design at Google.
I literally have no idea how I would even do that.
But the general confusion that Google+ elicits in people is perhaps best reflected in one of the 'Collections' linked to from the blog post, wherein a woman has shared numerous messages about her personal life under a photo of a vintage calculator.
I'm not seeing it.