Design The Best Experience, Win Hearts And Minds

Irish journalist Trevor Butterworth writing for Forbes makes a salient point about Facebook’s poor design, and how it endangers the long-term viability of the site.

If you’re actually busy, maintaining the site is simply too much work. Anything that can deliver the useful essence of Facebook without the effort has a distinct advantage; the problem for Facebook is that, for all the redesigns it imposes on its users, it is not designed specifically for the mobile Web. Google, by contrast, has an elegant e-mail and location system, a good instant chat system, and an as-yet unbeatable search engine. Imagine if it organized your Facebook content better than Facebook.
This social multiverse may be manageable on a desktop or laptop, but a multiplicity of structures for similar personal information and interaction are potentially overwhelming on a mobile device. For example, the average European mobile user has four separate address books, according to a 2009 survey by Critical Path, and he or she is a) frustrated about updating them, and b) enthusiastic about the idea of being able to syncronize all of them.
…the technologies that will succeed will be those that reframe the current relationship between form and content into something intuitive, immediate and scalable.

Butterworth clearly can see a future where Facebook has been swallowed whole by the great whale Google. Sounds good to me. Someone needs to clean up the mess Zuck has spawned.
What are your thoughts on the matter?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.