Teaching, Promoting, Cheering UX and SEO Since 2002

Facebook Ties Up, Blindfolds and Gags Its Usability Department

As if this is isn’t an already stressful season, Facebook has decided to change its user interface YET again. We had a learning curve the last time they did it. With this latest “upgrade”, they’ve clearly lost their minds.

Facebook. What have you done! Let’s explore.

If I wanted to update my status, or add a link, photo or video, that main task was front and center and easy to use. Underneath that, in the wide center column, it was easy to scan what I linked to or comments I made on other Facebook pages of my “friends”.

Underneath the logo was a quick “this is who I am” introduction so that someone wasn’t forced to hunt around looking for it. With the upgrade before this latest one, certain “social” items were suddenly pulled and hidden from the front view. This helped with keeping things a bit more private but also took away some of the “fun”. Because Facebook made so many blunders regarding privacy and security, a huge portion of Facebook users yanked off a lot of their personal information or fudged it so that Facebook couldn’t make its own Wiki pages from our data. Again, Facebook removed the “fun” part when they started to treat members as data, not people.

Clearly some persons in power at Facebook need to discover their old happy place because this new design is boring. Now, there is no status. In place of it is now information culled from the profile data. There is no editing it other than to get rid of the information altogether. I don’t mind the information being on my Facebook page but I hate where they moved it to. I much preferred to have a say in what information could be seen first. That choice no longer exists.

I’m not comfortable with some of the way things appear. For example, who cares if I’m married? It’s listed twice, both times linked to my husband’s page. Who cares where I went to college? That was a VERY long time ago. It’s not important to me and has little to do with my current profession. Who cares where I came from or how old I am? This information was perfectly fine where it WAS. I can’t think of a logical, user-driven reason for having this information thrown in the most important real estate on the page.

It’s followed up with photos from your albums. Again, you can’t control what pictures they put there. So if there is a picture that you’d prefer be in an album but not on your Facebook homepage, too bad. They stick up 5 pictures and you have to pray you look good in all of them. You also have to hope that anyone who tags you in a photo doesn’t pick a dumb one. There’s a picture of a “Good and Plenty” pillow (I think) tagged to me by my daughter who knows my favorite candy. It now appears on my top 5 photos. Oh boy.

I’m not sure the Wall means anything anymore. They removed some links we may have gotten used to using. They have link labels that don’t describe what’s behind the door. (Notes, on my Facebook, are not notes. It’s links to my web site posts. I’d love for a little accuracy.)

I’m not switching over my various Facebook sites now that I know what the new design looks like and how it performs. I suppose, like everything else Facebook, it will eventually be forced on us.

What the heck kind of usability-user experience thinking is that?

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