“Fashion is never finished.”
These are the words that Jesse Eisenberg acting as Mark Zuckerberg says in the Social Network in front of Eduardo Saverin. Fashion is never finished, because there is always a way to improve your previous design. With the advances in terms of web design, every year, thousands of websites are forced to redesign their face on the internet. Why? They don’t want to look old and outdated, their aim is always to be on top of innovation. There are websites that are able to achieve it and others that try and fail.
Even Facebook, a 1.2 billion people social network, can’t stop redesigning its webpage, they must improve. Firstly because they have more than 6 thousands employees, so they have to do something during the day, and also because in that position, the second most visited website in the world needs to lead design and creativity. Almost a year ago, Facebook showed us a new design, something completely different that was going to redefine its image.
After a year, we haven’t seen anything close to what we saw 365 days ago. A few people were able to use it, because they were probably randomly selected as beta users. In a year, Facebook studied the behaviour of those people and kept iterating, trying to figure out how the newsfeed should look like in 2014. They finally came up with a new design, which was completely different from what they imagined and which should be on every single Facebook profile by now.
The new design that Facebook released slowly penetrated every single desktop user, I was probably one of the last ones, since I got it a few days ago. The first impression is that Facebook doesn’t know what it’s talking about, even though dozens of designers have worked and tested this design. A $200 billion dollar company, before releasing something, pivots hundred times and we are pretty sure that this design has been tested, but what we wonder is if they adapted it to make more money or to give a great user experience.
The background colour is grey, which really doesn’t stand out, but actually it makes me feel sad. The ads are there, almost at the centre of the page and not on the far right anymore. Further the newsfeed, which is what Facebook should be about, seems to be resized and become irrelevant. In a single page we can easily spot more than a hundred links, redirecting to ads, pages, messages and even pokes, a feature that Facebook seemed to have forgotten.
When you redesign something like Facebook, the aim should be to make it as simple as possible for everyone to use. There is no point to build a complex user interface for the billions of people who are using your product. The more minimal and clear you webpage is, the more the user have a great experience and is willing to come back. It seems Facebook is trying to sell us something with this design, but the question should be “are the users ready to become costumers?” No, they still think Facebook is the free social network where everyone can share thoughts and pictures.
In reality, they are costumers, but the company’s aim should be to let them think they are not. Facebook is providing a user experience, something no one had imagined possible, ads and sponsored videos are just a tiny part of what this social network is about. The main focus should be on pictures, that’s why the newsfeed must be larger and at the centre of the page. On the other hand, they resized and moved it to the left, where you might even not notice it.
Fashion is never finished; that’s why we should expect another pivot and a complete change. It’ll probably take another year, maybe two to release something different from what they have introduced, if they don’t find a strong community of people, such as me, against it. As a large lean startup, they must have already iterated, which means that people actually like this design; but only time will give us an answer.