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Hey Google,

As someone who thinks about user experience every day, I can't help that a few minor annoyances are dooming you to failure with google plus.. again. (hi wave)

I could go for a while on this topic, so I'll stop with the major one. LINKING YOUR SERVICES TOGETHER IS AN EXCERCISE IN TRUST on behalf of the user. They trust that the experience of one product won't overlap and destroy the experience of another application they love and use. They trust that you won't use and abuse their time and concentration.

So when I log into my email, or my work documents, the LAST thing I want to be greeted with is a big red exclamation that some random people I've never met have added me to google+. It's dragging my attention away from what I want to be doing, distracting me, and there's no way to turn it off (not that this would be a solution to this problem). As a result, every use of every google product I've loaded up since I joined google+ has started with an annoyance. It may sound minor but it really does annoy me, and a buildup of constant minor annoyances are what cause people to subconsciously, then consciously start hating your product.

When you created google search, you succeeded because you understood this system of trust. You didn't violate the 'LOOK HERE, NO HERE, NO HERE!' principle, by plastering banner ads and pop up windows all over your search results pages the way your competitors did. This is a primary (if not the primary) reason you succeeded in such a tight, competitive space. Have you forgotten your roots?

Facebook sort of did the same thing. They succeeded over myspace because their interface was faster, simpler, and easier to use and understand. It didn't feel like the geocities of social media. Flashing animated gif backgrounds anyone? Then they allowed any old application to trick you into posting to your feed and soon we had the equivalent of email chain letter spam all over our walls. We also lost trust in Facebook because of the privacy concerns which plague both services currently.

The linking of google services with plus spawned all kinds of problems (unrelated picasa accounts suddenly being shared, etc) and it seemed like Facebook all over again. Trust is important, people are desperate to leave Facebook for the same issues, and you've just given them another Facebook to jump over to. Treat your users with respect and they will love you for it. YOU are the one who taught me that.

You're getting to be the dinosaur here. And it makes me sad.

Love,
Rob
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Rob Zolkos's profile photoRob Saunders's profile photoGregory McIntyre's profile photo
3 comments
 
Nice post. Make sure you flick 'em feedback via the button on the bottom right. From what I've read they are very receptive to feedback at the moment. I personally don't mind the notification, but I am in favor of having a rich set of settings to control things like that.
 
Thanks :) I guess some people may not mind the alert so much, but the rant was more about the lack of user-oriented ux (I think there's a growing trend toward what I would call 'selfish ux', which seems counter to its goal)... the social media application scene at the moment is still kinda broken and monopolistic... I don't think it will always be that way. It's just a shame google are starting to abuse the very factors that made them a success.
 
I think badge counters in all their forms are the enemies of productivity.
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