One of the little things is obviously the appearance and how it affects the flow of information; two critical factors when it comes to usability and design of any web app. One of the Chrome extensions that’s trying to achieve that balance is Google+ Ultimate.
helps you customize the look of Google+ with a few little tweaks here and there. Exactly what are those enhancements and do they make for a better Google+? Let’s find out by installing the Google Chrome extension.
This is how Google+ looks before the install:
This is a screen after installation of the Google+ Ultimate extension. Can you spot the differences?
The first change you notice is that the background has acquired a brushed metallic look. That’s just one of the three background modifications you can set from the extension’s Options.
Not much of a choice because the basic shade remains dull grey. But it raises the contrast and readability in my opinion. Also, the new design is more compact
Another very clear design enhancement are the fixed Google bar and the Google+ navigation bar. This makes the site more functional as you don’t have to scroll up and down to look at notifications or the Shares.
The left panel is also fixed with the chat getting its own thin scrollbar. You might like the idea of a fixed left panel; it makes Google+ navigation a bit more fluid. The visibility of the chat list gets a bit hindered because of the scrollable chat area. An increase in the scrollable height could have helped the view even if the contacts are offline.
The top navigation bar can also be made Ultra Compact from Options. This gives more space to the content and improves the appearance for wider screens. Though, I couldn’t find much of a difference in my normal 1280 x 768 resolution screen. The settings direct you to aas an example of the compact look.
The Google+ Ultimate extension rings in a few optional changes inspired from Facebook. Media embeds in the stream are reduced to more Facebook like sizes. This frees up space but does not hamper the viewer as videos expand on play. If you don’t like the reduced size, revert back to the original from Options.
The Google+ Ultimate extension also gives a peek into the. This could be real handy for people with widescreen monitors as it would give them a landscape view of their entire stream.
The Google+ Ultimate extension doesn’t facelift Google Plus, but the minor surgeries it performs look nice enough for a tryout. The compactness is a definite plus for me. What about you? Which enhancements do you like the most or would want on the extension’s wish list?