Google are you listening?
Well that was quick
Dived into the new G+ layout for the first time tonight. Jumped back out after 10 minutes to the old style. I do like the look and design of the new G+; crisp, clean, modern . . . and consistent. But it is completely unusable to me in the current incarnation.
Terrible Terrible Filtering
The key thing I need - ABOVE ALL ELSE - is to be able to very quickly jump into, exclusively, one or another dedicated circle-streams that I have set up, to quickly filter the main stream to just that which I have time for. Straight up the new design does not allow this and is almost useless, functionality-wise. You need to go into Settings and click that little toggle to make Circle streams appear in navigation. But this only improves the situation by an infinitesimal amount, because when you click to drop down that menu and select specific circles it only shows a small subset of them and for me it didn't show the main circles I spend all my time in. Useless.
Going into circles to move them around and reorder them I find that no, unfortunately they are static and fixed, so no quick navigation to my main circles of interest. I feel a little sick in my stomach at this point, realising with dread that this new design will become permanent at some point and be completely useless to me.
So I go back to old G+ version, back into circles as normal and find that I can reorder them by dragging them around - the first time I've tried that. The reordered circles feed into reordered circle menus on old version and I check the new G+ version to confirm that hallelujah the Circle streams menu also has reordered circles for quick filtering and is much more usable with my main circles now at the top.
However, it still only shows a subset of circles and if I want to jump into other circles not on that menu at some point then, too bad, there is no way to do that. So not quite completely useless, but still worryingly poor UI.
The Collections and Communities navigation menus have potential, but not in their current format, which I will also deride as useless. As +Gideon Rosenblatt pointed out today these menus simply take you to lists of Collections or Communities, each one of which is a little cul de sac that you have to individually jump into. Seriously, why oh why would you ever fricken bother? Unless you were only following a handful of Collections or Communities? Options moved front and center to the top of navigation and never to be used again. Don't get me wrong: I do understand the platform's push for Collections, etc, and better competing for the interest graph, and think ultimately it will be a good thing for the platform.
Desperately Needed Fixes
➤ Circle streams menu needs to be in navigation by default.
➤ Circle streams drop down menu needs to INCLUDE ALL TEH CIRCLES FFS.
➤ A user's circles, accessible via People in navigation NEEDS A SIMPLE REORDERING tool FFS.
➤ Collections and Communities navigation options NEED DROPDOWN MENUS like the Circle streams option and simple tools to allow quick grouping of Collections or Communities such that users can click on a grouping to see ALL THE POSTS from that grouping of Collections or Communities (or hell just let ALL the Collections and Communities appear) in the stream, rather than having to click and jump into each individual Collection or Community, which is honestly never going to happen.
➤ It'd be nice to have high-level controls to reorder the navigation menu, e.g. I'd put Circle streams in #2 spot under Home.
➤ It'd be nice to have a Hangouts option in navigation, even if you need to turn it on in settings.
UI / UX feedback for +Google+: #googleplus #newdesign #iscrap