In our last studywe found that Facebook’s UI was not seen user friendly in Japan. This time we wanted to test whether Japanese college students find Google+, a (presumably) new and little known (to a typical college student) social network service, less or more appealing than Facebook. We created 2 mock social network homepages and asked people to rate the design and the ease of navigation. In order to limit branding effects we made both sites look like a facebook page.
It turned out Facebook’s page was easier to navigate through and received better design related evaluations compared to Google+ ,although the difference was not significant.
Since we previously discovered that Facebook’s interface was perceived complicated in Japan and apparently Google+ is simpler than Facebook, the only reason that Google+ was rated lower than Facebook was perhaps it was seen too simple. Something that Google designers might want to look into in Japan.
Methodology: This was an online survey where participants (121 college students) saw the screen shots only. This study has serious limitations: a) the order was not rotated (participants first saw the Facebook page and then Google+) b) participants were already familiar with Facebook, ( familiarity breeds likeability) c) the ease of navigation can be better evaluated by the actual use of interface, in this case the participants only saw the pictures did not use the site d) college students might have different preferences compared to avg. citizens e) the differences were not statistically significant.