lots of people think we should just "live with it" and they argue that angle. i'm sure to some extent we're going to have to, but i thought there was a good marketing lesson at least for ME in the big mistakes Facebook made.
Yes, in my opinion, they made a serious miscalculation.
First of all, to be clear, i LOVE the new features Facebook added. There is no doubt in my mind, that they have made the platform BETTER.
However, my objections were more on an Interface level.
I believe that Software Usability is more important than Marketing when it comes to Websites.
USABILITY means the user finds a website/interface/software INTUITIVE, EASY TO USE, and is SATISFIED with how quickly they can achieve their goals.
Facebook's errors were in their Usability.
A software user (that's what Facebook members are) is used to a certain way of doing things. If you're going to improve your software and add more features, you need to keep that in mind. No body likes to have to learn a software from scratch every time it receives an update.
Facebook should have made their changes GRADUALLY. This would have allowed people to take it in one feature at a time. The changes Facebook made were ENORMOUS and extremely alien to the millions who had spent months earlier mastering how to get things done on the platform.
If we wanted to switch to a new Social Network, now would be the time. The major hurdle before us was that a new software would have taken time to get used to and learn. All things being equal, Google+ and Facebook's new interfaces are equally difficult to master. Google+ made every effort to keep their interface as "familiar" as possible to social network users....while Facebook tried to invent a new one all together.
Secondly, Facebook cluttered the interface with strange defaults that are foreign. Namely, their chat bar is open by default which is annoying. It doesnt scroll properly or easily, takes forever to search, and is very difficult to browse.
When we hit chat, we want to talk to people who are online. They should be shown first, not the friends we interact with most. Further, we should be allowed to rearrange our friends into the order we want to see them.
Thirdly, the News interface is now in some small box above the friend list. Yes we can resize its height, but we cannot expand its width. A lot goes on in there, and the feature is AWESOME but i'd like to see it in a full screen view. I can't. We should be able to expand the width to the size WE are comfortable with.
Fourthly, the two panes for News Feed and Friend list need to scroll. They have little invisible scrollbars on the right that only show up when we hover our mouse. The scrollbars are some light gray shade we can barely see and not too many have noticed even....AND it's skinny as heck making it hard to focus the mouse on it to scroll with.
Fifthly, the scrollbars of the News and Friends list are sitting RIGHT NEXT TO THE MAIN WINDOW SCROLL BAR. Literally with no gap. When we scroll the main window, depending on what we're focused on, we expect that particular pane to scroll. That means, we don't consistently want the MAIN window to scroll when we use the vertical scroll-bar...sometimes we want the friends list to scroll...sometimes we want the news feed to scroll.
This is unintuitive. And ANY good Software Interface Designer will tell you plain and simple, that you should NEVER place two scrollbars side-by-side because it causes confusion and is ugly.
For me, this is the worst error they made.
Imagine YOU created a landing page on your website as a marketer and had your information laid out this way...with one small window nested inside another...both with scrollbars. How do you expect your website visitor to navigate your site if they're confused about which scrollbar scrolls which window?
It's stupid. that's what it is.
I imagine Facebook will correct this as soon as they become wise to the confusion.
An easy fix would be to add some PADDING between the small scrollbars and the window's right edge.
I think in time, they will also realise they should allow us to resize the width of the news feed to our preferences.
And one day, maybe, hopefully, they'll let us group and organise our friends the way we like in the chat bar.
Or they might do something different all together. Who knows. But it remains a mistake and it needs fixing.