Social websites are tools for people, not users

They were statements we used a lot at Adobe:
  1. People, not 'users', interact with systems; and
  2. Only two industries have 'users' - software and drugs.
These were the thoughts that sprung back into my head when reading about the feedback from people regarding Facebook's User Interface update.

The point of this blog isn't to pay out (meaning #4 of the term) on the new UI - redesigns are an inevitably necessary function of a website as new features are added and people demand new ways of accessing those features and their data - but to make the point that techies need to make it easy for people to fully utilise those new features.

On the update weekend back in March 2009, I remember all my friend's status updates being something to the tune of: "I hate the new FB" and "where are my events?".

It took me about 6 minutes to find where my events had disappeared to (hint: check the bottom task bar). That's fine - I made the investment to figure it out, but can the site's owners expect all their 'users' to do so? Isn't it more likely that a growing percentage of 'users' simply will not use the feature anymore because they can't find it?.

Why didn't Facebook provide transition guides for people that were immediately available on their new home page?
As I mentioned in You suck at Photoshop, eLearning should be easy and fun.

Even now, checking "help" and diving into the "events application help" provides un-obvious ways to make the transition. I guess "How to use the Events application." and then "I can't find the Events application." is the best way to figure it out.

Lee to Mark Zuckerberg: serve us better or we'll cut and run to the next social site to come along.


posted by Lee Gale @ 3:39 AM,


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