Why Is Facebook So Unfriendly to Use?
I have been around computers all my adult life, since the 1970s. If there is one thing I know, it is computers. I have designed hardware, and I have ran simulations and I have written lots of programs. I have experiences on lots of different operating systems from the mainframe to the PC. I have experience with many programming languages including some homegrown ones. My complaint about Facebook program is the user interface.
- April 2020
The concept of a social media application is great. Facebook was invented to fill that role. It allows people to share information from around the world and next door. It is suppose to be easy to use so that even a grandma can use it to communicate with her grandkids.
For the most part, it works well. It is the most popular social media site by far. However, there are somethings that does not quite sit well with me. Being trained as an engineer and also knowing human factors, I always try to find the best ways for computers to interact with humans. Some things are very obvious, but many are not.
It takes an effort for a designer to think about the ultimate user who is going to be the customer of your product. The genius of Steve Jobs of Apple was his ability to come up with better interfaces for the iPhone, iPod and the iPad and Mac computers. So easy, even a child can pick it up and learn to use it in a very short time.
Facebook is a website and an app. It works like any other computer program which have lots of users. Therefore the design of the screen is very important. It is the first thing people see when they log in.
My Home Screen Facebook Website
My Facebook App on My Ipad
The above two screen captures say it all. A picture is worth a thousand words. This screen is too busy. There are too many distractions. Where does one start?
The icons or symbols are not obvious. I understand this app is catered to an international audience, The symbols help others who do not speak or read English navigate. However, it needs to be simpler.
The size of font is also an issue. For younger audiences it may be fine but for older folks, the font is too small. It needs to be a bit larger. The same goes for the touch screen. Most people's fingers are bigger than the icons.
Finally, it is not consistent. The website is not the same as the app. This is probably the most disturbing from a user interface point of view. These two programs needs to be consistent in its layout, design and functions. It does not have to be an exact replica but it needs to be consistent.
I am surprised by the lack of knowledge of human factors on the part of Facebook designers. Things like font size, color schemes, and touch screen interactions are well known. Why are they so ignorant or chose to be different? Is it arrogance or just ignorance.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Jack Lee