GNOME is a very mature and advanced desktop environment that is part of an entire stack of software.
The GNOME 3 project was designed as a desktop environment based on simplicity that utilized modern UI to manage applications. This means that for the modern computer user who is used to phones and tablets may be more comfortable than on a traditional Windows layout. The look and feel is closer to Mac OSX with the exception that GNOME has minimal features out of the box, but is very highly customizable so you set up your computer any way you choose.
Much of the customization comes from the Tweak Tool, but the shell is also very easy to expand using the shell extender plugin that is installed on FireFox out of the box. GNOME is not my first environment of choice for the novice user due to the limited out-of-the-box functionality. For the comfortable computer user, however, it is a powerful choice to for a modern computer running Linux.