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10 Reasons Why Facebook Now Sucks

The Facebook staff really have no idea what they are doing, where they are taking the site, and what branding means.
 
 
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The new "redesign" of Facebook, which was released earlier today to a "select" group of users (sadly, me included) was clearly designed by a 5-year-old -- oh wait, no, I take that back ... my daughter could design a better front end than they did.

They took a lot of functionality, customization and filtering capability out of the home page and replaced it with Twitter-like features, which is to say, they dumbed it down for children.

I don't think I have ever before seen such a global removal of functionality touted as a revolutionary beneficial redesign for all end users. It ended up being quite the opposite.

Below, you will find my top 10 reasons Twitterbook Facebook is no longer relevant if it keeps this current iteration of its design:

1. There is no more "Live Feed," which would show you every status update, friend add and comment, all updated on the fly without having to refresh. This was extremely useful to people who wanted to potentially see friends that they might be connected to, or just to not have to worry about refreshing the page every time they wanted to see an update, which you are now required to do.

2. There are no more filtering capabilities in the "News Feed," with the exception of either an ALL or NOTHING setting for individual friends. There used to be a multitude of filtering options of not only being able to turn off completely an individual friend's updates, but you could also raise or lower the importance of other updates such as statuses, comments, photos, etc. This was extremely useful. It's abominable that Facebook actually removed so much functionality from its GUI.

3. It increased the font size of updates as if we were either children or geriatrics, and cluttered the page up so much it's difficult to find anything. It added thumbnail icons of our profile photos next to every comment/post we or anyone else makes such that the page is now filled with large font text and photos (many just duplicates of yourself!) all over the place, with no ability to customize or turn them off.

4. The only filtering system that the home page has is the ability to allow you to only show "groups" of people that you have classified your friends into. I can't imagine that people with 500-plus friends have gone through and created "Classmates," "Family," "Drinkin Buddies," "F**k Friends" and other categories for every single person they add. And even if they did, it seems very unlikely that this feature would be used very much -- it's more likely that they would just specify not to show certain individual's updates, rather than an entire class of people.

5. It added an advertisement box at the top right where it's ugly and not helpful. Well, OK, ads are never particularly helpful, but this is extremely distracting, and even programs like Adblock Plus have a difficult time blocking them (though it's not impossible as I found out). Now clearly, this is to help it drive up revenue, but it would certainly help its cause much more to create a user-friendly GUI, rather than shoving an ad in your face with a lousy GUI and having everyone simply quit the site and delete their accounts.

6. It added a "Highlights" feature on the right side, which isn't helpful to anyone, which displays applications that people may have in common with you (like that's helpful), and groups that people might have joined that you potentially could be interested in. I haven't found one group that I'd be interested in, not to mention the fact that this is all duplicated information that was in your "Feed" stream when the person actually added that group or played with that app!

 

7. It has removed or made difficult to find events (birthdays, etc.). You actually have to go into your bottom "Applications" toolbar, click on the "Events" app (if it's even there), and then click on the "Birthdays" tab to see who has an upcoming birthday. Maybe it's me, but don't you think you would want to be able to see those upcoming birthdays and reminders right on your home page? ... Oh yeah, that would be in the OLD Facebook design, wouldn't it? Sigh.

8. The text entry box now asks, "What's on your mind?" No offense to Facebook, but if I really typed in what was on my mind, it would have to ban me. Also, if we typed in exactly what was on our mind, it would end up displaying something like, "Matt L. that I hate this design." Huh?? So you have to word your answer in the form of a sentence with no subject like you did in the old system ,when it said much more simply: "Write something..." with "Matt L." to the left of the text box to show you how the rest of your sentence is going to display. Well, OK, now I guess I'll instead just have to write something about your arse and my foot, all right?

9. It's almost impossible to find the location to complain about anything on this site or give user feedback. (See what I did there, including the actual links? Huh, huh?) On its "Help" page (cough, cough), it actually deigns to say it is going to "simplify the user experience." I guess by "simplify" it really means "make all the decisions for you." Hmm.

10. There is no centralized location of "Status Updates," in case you actually want to see what everyone is up to like it used to have -- kinda like Twitter, which I would assume it is trying to emulate. Well, that's strange. Don't allow us to actually see the updates, but design the site in a overly simplified way like Twitter, which doesn't need fancy functionality in the first place. Confused much? Welcome to our world.

It is very clear to me that the Facebook staff really have no idea what they are doing, where they are taking the site and what branding means. They have a very specific and very useful and unique site (or at least they used to!). They are a hybrid of Myspace, LinkedIn and Twitter, all-in-one, but without the childish things like themes or the one-track-functionality of Twitter. They even say on their own blog (a place where you can comment, btw!) that they often run "product testing sessions" with users and non-users, and they have even tried testing an eye-tracking program (read: as useful as astrology) to track how users use their site. So there's some actual research going on here, right?

But by dumbing down the site, which is clearly what they have done, they are going to lose the entire demographic that CEO Mark Zuckerburg just talked about being their "fastest growing": the 35-and-older users. Yeah, well, let's just see how long busy thirtysomethings stick around when you dumb down your site and insult their intelligence.

As one user's comments put it: "Maybe there are some good things about the new layout, but I don't know what they are."

Well, I can certainly tell you that I'm not going to stick around for long if they don't change it.

 
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