Why the new facebook layout is crap

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Facebook - at least the logo's not changed

A large number of people received the new facebook layout yesterday. I gather this was facebook’s “6th birthday present” to its users. Some had had it since earlier in the year and others still haven’t got it – but will.

There are a lot of ways of looking at the design, but the single biggest flaw is that things have changed. It’s not so much what they have changed into, but the fact that things people have become used to have been moved or tweeked for no discernible reason.

This might not sound like a big deal to a lot of people, but I know of one user who’s dyslexic. For him to get used to finding something that’s moved from one corner to another is a big deal – he uses interfaces by memorising the location of things, not by visually recognising them. He has to relearn the interface from scratch – and for what purpose? None that I can ascertain.

I don’t use facebook to any great depth, so what I’ve spotted is likely to be fairly superficial. However, none of it makes any sense to me. First up is shifting the bottom bar around. The chat area is still at the bottom of the screen while the rest of the bar has been removed. Notifications are now in the top left instead of the bottom right.

This does give an extra line of screen real estate. I think. Or is the top now a little larger? However, it’s this particular move that’s caused problems for my dyslexic friend (and I’m sure many like him).

My particular bugbear is that I can’t be bothered with the news feed. It’s a mess and I really couldn’t care two hoots who is giving stupid virtual gifts to who, or who’s just got a highscore on some crappy game. I just want status updates.

In the previous version, I went to the correct area and dragged “Status” to the top of the list. Henceforth when I visited my “Home” area, I received status updates. This is no longer possible. “Home” now takes me to News Feed. It won’t even default to “Most Recent” so I have a completely useless splatter of informational crap that is of no use whatsoever.

I now have to go into “Friends” in the leftmost column. This in itself is badly-designed as there’s no indication whatsoever that “Friends” opens up sub-menus. There is a reason we have design standards, such as little boxes with “+” in them, or arrows with move from right-pointing to down-pointing. It’s simple design practise which facebook have chosen to ignore.

Once there, I’m stuck in the default Friends page and I then click on the newly-appeared “Status Updates” menu item to get what I used to find by simply clicking “Home” in the past. As far as I can tell, there is no way to set this as my default view.

Given that the press release from facebook read as follows:

A simplified home page to provide easier access to what you’re looking for on Facebook. You can now quickly navigate to commonly-used areas of the site from the top and left hand menus. From the Top Menu, you can now easily find new messages, requests, and notifications using the icons in the top, left hand corner. The left hand menu is now where you can find all of your applications, previously located in the bottom dock.

I would take issue with the use of “easily find”. Something that’s easily found should be immediately apparent, not located by means of a random search. I would also be tempted to say that the left hand columns isn’t a menu – it’s a list. Until you click on it and realise it just looks like a list.

Sure, it’s functional. There’s no denying the new look is tidier and reduces redundancy (there were so many ways on one screen to do the same thing before). But it’s very poor design. For a brand new user it lacks indication of the functionality of certain areas and for experienced users it’s moved things too far from where they were before with no obvious indication of where to look to find them.

As an aside, I think it’s badly programmed as well. This may just be coincidence, but when I left my browser (Chrome) on the Status Update page for about 11 hours yesterday when I was out, I came home to find that it was using stupid amounts of memory and froze. I never had this issue with the old design.

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jac

I don’t have the new layout, but I subscribe to my own status update feed by RSS. Works a treat, turns up in my reader and I don’t have to log into Facebook…

vertigoelectric

Yes, I noticed that about the Suggestions as well. Have you also noticed that now they take up more space, too? There is also a full column of sponsored ads below the Suggestions area. It takes up almost a third of the browser window, and with the “menu” stuff on the left column, the actual content hardly gets any room.

Back when Facebook had made its last change, and started using the Gossip Feed (aka News Feed), I was so irritated and annoyed by this, I almost deactivated my account and threw in the facebook towel. Fortunately, a friend showed me I could set Status Updates as my default view. It was such a relief!

Why all of the changes, Facebook? Even if it needed some work, you don’t take something that [at least] functions and change everything around like this. It’s like you had a car that had a few scratches on it, and instead of buffing it you traded it for a bike.

My email is [redacted]. If the author of this blog or any reader finds a way to restore Status updates as the default view, please… please let me know.

vertigoelectric

Sorry for the double post. After posting, a friend directed me to an article saying that Facebook is now working on implementing actual web-mail into their design (imap/pop support and all that). The email name you use to log in will supposedly be your “emailname@facebook.com” address.

I say “NOOO no no!!” Facebook needs to fix what they HAVE, first… and stop trying to add and change things.

vertigoelectric

Sorry again for posting… again.

I’ve found something that you might find very helpful! The best part is that figured this out myself! Yay!

This link will (or should) take you directly to your Status Update feed page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=app_2915120374 (NOTE: If this stops working, or does not take you to your status feed page, then navigate to your status feed page yourself and then use the URL displayed in the address bar once you get there).

I simply saved this link as a link button on Firefox with my other links. Instead of clicking the “Home” link at the top right of Facebook, just click your shortcut for the link I gave you here. It should take you right to your status feed without having to navigate to it.

Additionally, navigating to it through the “Friends” menu item on the left activates the stupid Suggestions and Sponsored Ads column on the right. Once I got to the Status Updates page, I clicked Refresh in my browser and that column cleared, leaving only the “Connect with Friends” section, which doesn’t bother me. Using this link as a shortcut should prevent the page from picking up those solicitations it picks up on the way to the Status Updates page.

Sorry if I didn’t explain it well…

vertigoelectric

Taking a while? Hehe… that was perfectly timely. Anyway, I went to go upload a photo to see what you’re talking about, but it didn’t require me to download or install anything. It looks like the same java uploader it’s been for a long time…

Anyway, I agree with your entire blog post. Their design is just very, very poor.

I also leave Facebook open almost all of the time. So far I haven’t noticed any lagging or excessive memory hogging, but I haven’t checked the process manager. Figured if I can’t notice it, it’s not bad enough. I use Firefox, btw. Also, most of my photo uploads are done through my Droid phone. =]

vertigoelectric

Just since I last commented here, I’ve already run into numerous other annoyances with Facebook. For example, the feeds very often don’t show up right. Every time I refresh, I never know whether it will show me the latest posts or not. sometimes it doesn’t show any (says “No posts to display”). Sometimes, it shows the posts completely out of order (chronologically). I’ve missed several of my friends’ posts because it doesn’t show it to me.

I can go on, but why? @_@

vertigoelectric

Check this out: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=app_2915120374#!/help/?community=784

Look at all of the complaints.

Will Facebook hear these complaints? The problem I see is that people still use Facebook regardless of the problems and annoyances. As long as they are using it, what reason does Facebook have to do anything about the complaints?

I use this analogy: Imagine you eat at a restaurant and got horrible service. You went back and ate there again anyway, and again got horrible service. You complained, but then came back again, and again. Each time you come back, you complain about the service, but nothing changes. What motivation does the restaurant have for changing their quality of service if the customer keeps returning anyway?

The only thing that is going to put a crack in this wall is if everybody who is displeased with Facebook close/deactivate their account and stop using it until Facebook does something about it. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. I thought about doing it myself, but I’m just one person, and I know a lot of people probably think the same thing, but I wouldn’t want to do it unless I knew a ton of others would do it as well…

It’s reasons like this that I left MySpace… except in that case, I had an alternative: Facebook. Now where is the alternative? I really want a way to keep in touch with people in the way that Facebook is supposed to provide.

vertigoelectric

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=app_2915120374#!/help/?community=784

Sorry, for some reason when I posted that link, it didn’t parse it properly. Don’t click it. Copy the whole URL.

vertigoelectric

Exactly. I migrated to Facebook because I respected its simple, somewhat mature format. We’re losing that quickly.

Dylan

Mine was changed a few minutes ago, without any warning – and within seconds it became impossible even to log in! If I ever do manage to get back in, I’m going to terminate my account. I am bloody pissed off. Myspace recently changed, and became sluggish and irritating – so I started to use facebook for all my musical output. Now that facebook has jumped on the backward bandwagon bound for crapsville, I just give up. Whoever first said “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” must be rolling around in his/her grave. GRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for the forum: it’s saved my laptop from being thrown out of the window. Here’s hoping normal service will be resumed soon!

Phil Seitzer

The new facebook is complete crap as far as im concerned! I only have access from my verizon vortex and am unable to delete anything and cant look for friends other then thier suggestions! This is complete crap and im done with them til they bring back a useable setup7