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Facebook Changes and Mom

Posted by Mike Dell at 8:01 AM on February 9, 2010

As most of you know, Facebook has changed their page layout. Without notice or choice, they flipped the switch. One minute it’s one way and the next minute it’s different.

That’s normally not a problem for a web savvy person such as yourself. (I’m assuming if you are reading Geek News Central, you are above average computer and web skills) For those people like my Mom, who are happy just to know how to do the basic things, this can throw them for a loop.

Non Geeks tend to learn a system or a web site and then as long as stays the same, they are fine. That covers a large percentage of Facebook users. I’m not saying we should all be geeks, I’m just saying that the geeks that run most web sites should think about non computer people when they decide to change something major on a popular website.

Same with software makers. If your program works one way with version 1, it should remain similar for version 2.

Back in the day, I remember that Quark Express (a once very popular page layout program used in graphic arts) went from version 3 to version 4 and 90% of the way things were done changed. This really caused a support problem in our art department where 5 out of the 7 people there were not “computer people”. It took a very long time to get everyone back up to speed on how to use the main program they did their jobs in.

I’m guessing that most of you reading this are “tech support” for your friends and family like I am.

My wife and I were sitting in our easy chairs with our laptops and my wife asked me. “What happened to Facebook?” “I can’t find my friends list” . I took a look and sure enough, the switch had been flipped. I didn’t know what to tell her as I hadn’t been on Facebook that day. About 5 minutes later, my phone rings. It’s my mom with the same question.

I get enough family and friends support calls as it is. Facebook, Stop moving stuff around!

4 Comments

  1. From Randall Lind at 8:18 am on February 9, 2010

    I agree with you. However once you find everything you will notice how clean and clutter free it is.

    However some people may not like the fact you will have to go back to the home page to switch games.

    I do like it much better but, I am just sick of them changing every couple months geek or not it is getting a bit much.

  2. From Bill Englerth at 10:43 am on February 9, 2010

    I agree wíth you Todd and I also agree with Randall about the new layout. Although I don’t use the web interface as much any more now that I have a Blackberry, I think the new layout is better. I do understand your point about making the changes more suttle and the need for a little more warning. I just happened upon it as a tweet from Computerworld. I did warn my friends, but I’m not sure how many saw it. It seems like Facebook is trying to make things better which is good. However I’m not sure where they are getting their input from; I know that I wasn’t asked.

  3. From Nancy at 11:35 am on February 9, 2010

    I certainly don’t fall into the “Mom” category…and I’ve quickly gotten used to previous Facebook makeovers, as unnecessary as they sometimes seemed.

    But this one doesn’t even WORK. I, and those of my FB friends whose pages have changed, find that the most recent postings may or may not appear under “Most Recent” news, depending on when you visit FB. Refresh the page, and you may find the “most recent” news is now actually news from yesterday. Refresh again, and you get the page you saw earlier in the day.

    Next time, they should do comprehensive testing before launching.

  4. From Joe at 12:40 pm on February 9, 2010

    My problem is not with the changes but their feed aggregator appears to be borked. The “News Items” rarely show me anything new throughout a particular day and the live feed certainly isn’t if I see an entry from 30 minutes ago, an hour ago, then yesterday and it’s 4:00 in the afternoon.