Discussion Tabs: Facebook, Take Some Notes from Steve Jobs Human Interface Design


Steve Jobs was a master of managing industrial design and human interface design. Apple products are easy to use because Apple mastered the science of how people make errors, and made “thoughtful” machines that help people take the correct course of action when using those machines.

Contrary to Facebook’s design and attention to details and lack of thoughtfulness to users …
The help section is weak. The interface changes, sometimes without notice — and sometimes suddenly to the dissatisfaction of users.

Consider the latest action, which is the upcoming deletion of discussions topics …

From Facebook …
What happened to the Reviews and Discussions tabs on my Facebook Page?
We’ve found that the best way to encourage conversation and feedback is through posts and comments on your Wall. We’ve removed these tabs for now as we work on tools to help you moderate and filter content. Our goal is to help you can manage [sic] everything from one powerful place. Stay tuned.

On place pages with a location, fans can still write a recommendation for their friends or others from the right-column that says Recommendations.”

The notice directly above follows an alert that says the Discussions app will be removed on October 31st.

In the meantime, a user can still start a new discussion on October 5th. Wouldn’t an alert be appropriate at this point. Discussions are going bye-bye, or something like that?

Features, like Get updates via SMS, come and go without notice. And new features show up with no explanation or no context driven definitions. For example “10 are talking about this” What exactly do those metrics mean? Messaging, emailing, writing on the wall?

How about “256 life this” in the left column of a page, for example. A newbie might wonder if that’s a verb command or a report. The newbie might wonder if they’re supposed to click “like this” to report they like this page, but actually it is a report that 256 people already like this page. The link takes you to the list of people that already like the page. Facebook: at least report it this way, “256 people like this”

Facebook does many things very well, like filling in the blanks when you start to search for a person or page in the search box at the top. But overall, the interface just isn’t tight like Mac OS X or iOS. Facebook, do your homework on human interface design.

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