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New Facebook Design: Thumbs Down

Regular readers of my blog know that I am a huge fan of Twitter, but I haven’t been as vocal about my preference for Facebook. I have always liked it more than MySpace, and I finally had enough friends close their MySpace account and switch to Facebook that I felt like I wouldn’t be losing contact with them (although there are still a few I will miss! If you read this, email me, comment here, or just join Facebook! :) ).

And I have always been excited about the new updates Facebook has made to its interface, until now, and something this morning made me feel the need to write the following message to Facebook about their new design.

I have been a vocal fan of Facebook since I joined, and I have supported every update since. Some of those updates took some getting used to, but eventually, the advantages were obvious.

Unfortunately, this latest iteration does not fall in that category. I just read in the help section that this redesign aimed to “simplify” the Facebook experience, and that is, unfortunately, what it has done. The main Facebook page emphasizes the status updates (Twitter), when that is not what I come to Facebook for. I rarely read everyone’s status update before, and it doesn’t interest me now. I used to log into Facebook for a quick check on a particular person’s profile, but couldn’t get away because Facebook was dazzling me with all this info on all my friends. Now, I log in, check that one person’s info, and close the tab. It has become rather time-consuming to see when people have uploaded pictures, changed their profile pics, joined groups, all those other functions that make Facebook , well, Facebook.

I understand that you are trying to compete with an agile competitor (Twitter), and rightly so. They are changing the way people communicate and that steps on your toes. But don’t forget what made Facebook strong in the first place: a unique, all-in-one, easily-accessible, well-designed, dare I say it, fun platorm. Don’t lose your uniqueness, don’t “dumb down” to meet Twitter. Innovate instead, and make Twitter chase you.

I can’t send this message and feel good about myself without telling you what I do like about the new design. I never really got the point of friend lists even though I was using them. And now they are extremely useful. Make it tad easier (drag and drop?) to put friends in list large-scale (move 5 friends to a list), and you’ll make a lot of users very happy. Also, birthdays are right at the top of that right column–I love this! I almost always log into FB at least once a day just to see who I need to greet for their special day, and now it’s easy peasy.

I just have to close with telling you how much I love Facebook. Thank you for creating a great product, and thank you for your commitment to always making it better, listening to your users, and having fun at the same time.


What do you think about the new Facebook redesign? Post it in the comments, and be sure to click here to tell Facebook directly!

4 thoughts on “New Facebook Design: Thumbs Down

  1. David

    21 Mar on 2009 at 14:55

    I think I agree with you on the changes. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I used to go to the main page all the time, and in the week or so since the changes happened, I have all but stopped going to there at all. Now I just go to my profile. Hopefully facebook will listen to you since you wrote your opinion cogently and rationally instead of just doing the whole “new facebook sucks!” without giving reasons thing.

    • xgravity23

      30 Mar on 2009 at 21:24

      @David: Man, I hope so. The more I use it, the more unusable it seems, which is quite the opposite of how I felt with the other changes. *sigh*

  2. Lorraine

    19 Mar on 2009 at 16:37

    Let me just say that I whole-heartedly agree with you on this one, Linden. One of the reasons I resisted Twitter for so long was because I love the all-in-one approach of FB. It’s got photos, detailed information, the newsfeed for quick updates, etc. Now? I log in and log out. The status update is just a goofy one-liner for me, NOT the reason I use Facebook. Plus, the Stream has NO information hierarchy making it extremely difficult to read. Arg!

    If FB wants to give me an update I could use, then I want a little box next to each friend’s name that lets me know what friend groups they are in and will let me toggle them in and out of groups. Right now, if I want to adjust my privacy settings, I have to go into each Friend Group separately and check who is in each one. Talk about frustrating!

    • xgravity23

      30 Mar on 2009 at 21:26

      @Lorraine: Yes! THAT is why I don’t like the Stream: No info hierachy. You should write your own letter. And good idea on the easy toggling of groups. Dude, those are so unusable right now!