Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Facebook: The current controversy

Now, I am not opposed to change. Generally, I am in favor of change. In one of my prior jobs, I redesigned (i.e. changed) the newsletter twice and was about to do it for a third time. I also created a new logo!

Facebook has sowed the seeds of its own destruction with its latest moves. Awhile ago, they introduced a new look. They let users try it. Some liked it. I did not like it. The new design took away the kind of graphic design which design professionals say is most effective in a web site. There was a column on the left with tools, there was a column on the right with tools (and ads). The middle had "the meat" or the content. Look at sites like the new L E Phillips Memorial Public Library. It also has a bar and boxes on the top. It is what a professional graphic designer would have done. (Although I am kind of proud that we had the talent in the building to create it!)

Facebook made a critical mistake this week. They FORCED everyone to the new format. Some developers created a work-around. Now Facebook has blocked/disabled those. Over 1.2 MILLION users have joined a group against the forced move. That is in a matter of days!

If Facebook is not careful, they soon will be replaced in the marketplace by someone else. (If I knew who that would be, I would invest some of my limited resources!!)

The new version asks for input/feedback. Who knows what happens to that feedback. I have offered any number of comments. Have I heard anything? No!! It is not good to build a frustration level with your core constituency and talented users. (I am in the first, but not the second.)

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.