Facebook, we need to have a talk. I’m just going to be completely blunt about it. You’ve gotten stale. Calm down, I’m not saying that to insult you as an entire social network. What I’m talking about is your design. It’s… well it’s… terrible. And it’s time for change, don’t you think?
I know what you’re going to say and you’re right. In the past, many of us users complained every single time you rolled out a different News Feed design — pretty vocally too. The backlash often made headline news. Remember your redesign that was so huge it was initially located on its own subdomain, new.facebook.com?
Let’s not forget another big milestone in your design history: Facebook Timelines. People were a little perplexed at the choice to arrange profile posts into two columns. You were so understanding though since eventually you backpedaled while still retaining the core design philosophy of the timeline.
Facebook’s design has gotten stale.
Oh and I can’t leave out the redesign that never happened. In 2013 we were promised a streamlined News Feed layout that elevated content and replaced the sidebar with a dark, icon-based menu. It never came. Bits and pieces of this made it onto your website eventually, but that’s as far as you went.
It’s now been over three years since you updated your website, when you used to roll out a new design every one to two years if that. Stop being lazy. Things need tidying up.
Apps I haven’t used in years, groups I never view, events I don’t care about… why are they in my sidebar?
Let me first start by giving you some credit where credit is due, Facebook. Your mobile app? Pretty solid. There was a time when it didn’t seem like you would ever nail mobile, but right now I’m fairly impressed. The design is mostly clean, easy to understand, and I haven’t come across any significant bugs in a while.
Okay, I’m glad that’s out of the way. Listen, the website sucks. Could you please try to explain what that mess you call a sidebar is? Mine has literally dozens of links to different places and I use almost none of them. I can’t even get rid of them if I don’t want them there. Apps I haven’t used in years, groups I never view, events I don’t care about… why are they in my sidebar?
Almost as bad is the chat bar that has now become a “chat plus everything else” bar. Two different rows of games are at the top followed by a News Feed ticker in the middle followed by online friends at the bottom. Facebook, what are you doing? Seriously, what? Luckily I’m able to hide everything but the online friends, but why can’t I hide all the other crap in the left sidebar then?
I’m sorry, but the whole website is just ugly and inconsistent too. Some buttons are rounded, some rectangular, some have gradients, others completely flat. When I’m not annoyed with the finer details like that, I’m annoyed with all the very conspicuous clutter everywhere.
The chat bar has now become a ‘chat plus everything else’ bar.
Twitter has gotten a bit more cluttered over the years but that website is still worlds better than yours. It’s divided into five main categories: Home, Moments, Notifications, Messages and search. That’s all there is. Facebook, you have Notifications, Messages, search, topic pages, groups, games, events, saved links, pages, apps… what the hell is going on anymore? I don’t even know what this website is supposed to be.
Stop. Just stop. You are a social network that now weirdly feels like a Yahoo portal.
It’s time to seriously streamline the News Feed, ditch your obsolete features and slap on a fresh coat of paint.
You don’t need web-based apps or games so get rid of them. People have moved on to mobile apps.
You don’t need saved links. Why not integrate with apps like Instapaper or Pocket instead so they can handle the UI on a separate site/app? Facebook posts could have a share sheet that supports these services.
Groups and pages should not be in the sidebar when I’d venture to guess that the vast majority of Facebook users don’t use them regularly.
Fundraisers should be types of events, not completely separate. And events shouldn’t be minimized to a single link at the top right of the Home page while the rest of that column is dedicated to ads.
And overall, just start looking less ugly. Facebook looks like a website someone still running Windows Vista would visit.
Sorry to be this harsh Facebook, I really am, but I’m only saying all this because I care. I want to get excited about your design again. I’m sorry we were all so bitter in the past, but it’s time to seriously streamline the News Feed, ditch your obsolete features and slap on a fresh coat of paint.
Get to work.
Last updated on 03 February, 2022
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