Just my thoughts

The new facebook

I must say up front that I don't want to make a judgement on the new facebook homepage layout. I could, but I won't. What is infinitely more interesting to me is everyone else's opinion (hopefully that makes me a better usability designer!). It is fascinating to me that there is such an uproar over the new facebook design. Some of the comments I hear--"it's too cluttered", "it's to confusing", "there is too much going on"--to be honest, are complaints I have always had. Even more confusing, are comments such as: "I can't see what people are doing any more", "I don't know anyone's status updates unless I look at their pages". It took me a long time to understand these last set of comments and I believe that it is people that have bookmarked their profile page as their homepage and are only seeing their own posts and not their friends. So what does all this mean? Will facebook fail? Should/could this have been avoided? I personally see a natural evolution in a widely used Web site that is responding to pressure from competition (e.g. Twitter). I don't think this will be the downfall of facebook. But I do think this could have been avoided. How? Better promotion of the changes, a longer transition cycle, an initial opt-in period where they could have solicited feedback. The key take-away is that they can listen to their community, even if it is a small minority of whom are complaining, and see if they can either meet them part way, or help educate them to the benefits of the change. That's what I think, what do you think?
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