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How the new Google+ layout helps you see more stuff

The first thing that a Graphic Designer learns when doing page layout, whether for web or print, is to "design for the glance". Everybody looks at pages that way. That is, we glance at what catches our eye and either move on, or look some more.

The new Google+ layout takes advantage of "the glance" by using a three-column format. And good graphic designers know that the most important thing for catching an eye is a compelling image. It could be a photograph, a drawing, a cartoon, whatever. So, as you glance at the Google+ page, you see lots of images. It has been compared to Pinterest, and rightly so. But Google+ lets you not only grab interest, but pull eyes towards what you want to say.

Look at any magazine, or any newspaper. It starts with an eye-catching image, then an interesting headline. From there, it's just a matter of text, which in the case of Google+ is a shared link. A graphic designer's job is not to "trick" someone into reading something, it's to entice them. And when it's done well, it's wonderful. It's really the most efficient way of letting people know that you have something that interests them. If it's done wrong, people resent it. The classic image that comes to mind is a scantily-clad woman that leads you to an article about real estate. People hate this with a passion, and you can be sure that they will remove you from their circles, or stop following you, as fast as they can.

No, don't try to write a lot on the Google+ page. It just collapses into "Read more" which is Google+'s way of saying, "get to the point". If you have more to say, say it in a blog like this. If people trust you, and it seems interesting, they will go there.

By the way, if you're wondering why you are seeing more layouts like the new Google+ layout, it's because they are "collapsable". If you are viewing it on a big computer screen, it shows as the full three columns, on smaller screens, all the way down to phones, it collapses to two, and then one column.