Google+ versus Facebook - a UX showdown
29th November 2011
This interactive exercise on Google+ Vs Facebook was done as part of our World Usability Day event held at User Vision's head office.
In June Google launched Google +, a social networking site with functionality and design to rival Facebook. Despite a promising start for Google +, the number of new sign ups and the amount of content being shared has dropped significantly. For World Usability Day we conducted some informal user testing to investigate a central feature of these social networks - how they cope with sharing different types of information with different people.
What we looked at
Participants were asked to carry out three similar tasks using both Facebook and Google +. These tasks compared how well these sites performed in terms of:
- Dividing contacts into different categories.
- Sharing photos with select groups.
- Sharing a status update with a select group.
Participants rated how difficult they found both of these tasks on each website. After completing these tasks participants questions about how they found the experience on both these websites.
Google + was found to be an easier website on which to complete all of the prescribed tasks on. This was due to participants finding the controls needed to complete these tasks more apparent on Google + than on Facebook. On Facebook users felt they had to go through more substructures to complete the task and it had more perceived complexity.
Despite this finding the general consensus among participants was that they would continue to use Facebook as all of their contacts used this site. As not as many people used Google + regularly there was less dynamic content to keep people interested and clicking.
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This article was written by Shane Walsh. Shane is a User Experience Consultant at User Vision, a usability and accessibility consultancy that helps clients gain a competitive advantage through improved ease of use.