A friend's Facebook status message recently read that she "is really only on FB for about 60 seconds every other day now that the design sucks." Here's why:

1. Feed takes up more screen real estate
Less dense information = more scrolling to ingest everything.

2. Unclear use of grid/column spaces
There are photos on the right, photos in the middle, status/Twitters in the middle, random events ("Highlights") that have nothing to do with me on the top right. What gives? Where is the logic? My favorite part of the screen is the extra white space on either side of the content when I maximize my browser window. Ahhhhhh.....

3. Awkward information hierarchy
Here is why I completely glaze over the rightmost column (aside from the "Highlights," which seems like it should be relabeled "Ads"): because hell if I know that my friend named her new photo album "Living la vida loca," I just know that I like to see Jane Smith's photos, and photos of Jane Smith. Um, it's "social networking" for a reason--make the people the focal point!

4. I have to work harder to get to the stuff I care about
...Therefore, I am less likely to stick around to find it. If Joe Bob is an OCD status updater, I have to read 5 of his status updates in a row before I get to learn something about my other friends. If I "x" him out then I lose all of his status updates. Shouldn't there be a middle ground, like being able to see just his latest status update? Also, don't make me filter people out. Software should be smart enough to track the people who's photos I comment on most, the profiles I visit (read: stalk) most often, and the organizers of events I attend.

5. Redundancy
What's the difference between the "Home" link and "Friends" link on the top nav bar? If I don't pick a drop-down "Friends" option, it appears that it just takes me "Home." Similarly, what's the difference between the "Profile" link and "Joyce Chen" link? We get seven links for the price of five, which in interaction design is not that great of a deal.

4 comments:

    Great and funny post, j. Also, why does going "back" have to be so confusing? If I click away from my "All Friends" page onto a friend and then want to return to "All Friends" I have to go back to the pull-down menu...No "back" button. It feels like the pages aren't linked. Growl. Has there been a social network designed with emphasis placed on stalking tendencies? Um, opportunity space!

    I like the way you think, mab. If both of us are jobless come June we should definitely put our heads together and add our $0.02 to the overflowing bucket of social networking sites with something more stalker-centered and well-designed.

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