Facebook pushed out a serious update to its interface last week, much to the anger and upset of its users. I’m one of those people. I lost access to one of the things I use the most, the News Feed, and it also stopped auto-updating. That was my biggest complaint. My second-biggest complaint was the “highlights” section on the right-hand side, which featured things I was not interested in but had happened to appear on some of my friend’s Facebook pages.
There was much vocal outcry, much of it on Facebook itself. When 175 million people are hollaring at you, it is important that you at least listen. And Facebook did, making a few changes to pieces of Facebook that were the most bothersome. Number one on that list is bringing back auto updating of the feed. One of the most annoying things for me was having to hit refresh, even after many hours of idleness on my computer, just to see who had posted updates. They will also be revamping the highlights section to include some of the items from the old news feed section. Unfortunately, they haven’t given me a way to eliminate the advertisement at the top of the highlights, something that annoys me mightily. I can turn off all other advertising, but not that.
But there is a fine line Facebook must walk in making changes that revert back to the old layout. Not everything the customer says is going to be right, and Facebook needs to temper the wants of the users, with the needs of the users. Wants and needs are not often the same thing, and further, needs are sometimes unknown in the user’s mind. So far, I think Facebook is doing a fine job of walking the line. They are attempting to make users happy, yet provide new features some of us didn’t even know we wanted. Change is good, even if we don’t like it.