After watching the I/O keynote I decided to head over to Plus and check out the new layout. Noticed that the color of the top search bar area is white rather than the normal grey. I say normal grey as it’s the same grey used in Gmail and in the Play Store. It’s always dark gray nav bar, followed by a lighter grey search bar area.
After some minor tweaks the search bar now feels more like the standard and the G+ toolbar feels more like a part of the service. It pops more and helps define the content area for the posts. It also now feels more inline with the hangouts area which is also white. The secondary impact of this change occurs when you scroll down. This first gif shows how it is currently implemented.
Here, the grey pops in to white, a drop shadow appears, and some new UI elements animate in. This color change is a bit distracting and if the toolbar was white to begin with is unneeded. The shadow, not too distracting could also be added to the hangouts area as well as the tool bar at all times. I’m not entirely sure why they even need a drop shadow during this scroll transition. It may help to define the content area, but that can be done with the same thin border they use in other services like Gmail. It moves the UI away from a purely flat UI and adds depth where there was none. I’m not saying drop shadows are bad, just in this case it might be misused. I decided to try it with and without the drop shadow to see how distracting it really was.
The last thing that jumps out in these animations is the notification icon. It’s a small thing, but it animates in, but does not animate out, merely disappears. It’s a bit of polish that was missed. However, for me, what has been seen cannot be unseen.
I really like the new G+ layout and the new great features. It really does feel like Google is trying to make a unified design across all of their services and the consistency which is great, only highlights missed attention to detail.