Your Newly Enhanced Experience

What is it about social media that requires constant redesigns of the interface? Is it a desire to stay ‘fresh’?

Or is it the need to feel like you are once again the new kid on the block, when, in actuality, you are getting a little creaky and the new apps are breathing down your neck and offering to walk you across the street?

Hey, Google, Facebook, Twitter… once again, you’re giving us design changes we do not want and have not requested.

Google+ redesigned itself yesterday into a minimalist-facebook, complete with banners in user profiles and a shrunken space for user content.  It’s this second item that should be the biggest clue about who their audience is now. Hint, it’s not us.  What we say and do in these spaces matters less and less, so they’re giving us less space to do it in. As evidenced by the page real estate being sucked up by buttons, advertising, and things that we didn’t ask for and do not use.

In short, we are spending more time finding our way around the new layouts of these mediums than we are using the medium to communicate with others.  This makes no sense, since the stated purpose of twitfaceboogle is to help people communicate with each other.

It’s time for the social media user experience folks to sit down with the VPs and the design consultants and come up with a way to let the users -us- control our own experience, at least in part.

Make us part of the experience again.  That’s enhancement enough.

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5 comments

  1. Having content larger than a paragraph or a cat gif might encourage people to think of social media systems as more than a constantly updated tickertape of predictable ephemera, from barely distinguishable entities. And we can’t have that. They might not read the sponsored posts and trending topics.

  2. I know Twitter, Facebook, and Google involve a ton of users in their research and design. Their design decisions aren’t made just for kicks. They are made to make money.
    These services are free, and while they are designed for people to use and freely post and share, you are not their customer. You are their product. That’s why it’s free for you to use. You use their stuff and Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc use your information and content and eyeballs to sell you to advertisers. That’s how it works and that’s why the design changes so much. They have to keep optimizing to make more money.

    1. Thank you, Eddie – it’s great to have your perspective here! I see the truth in what you’re saying – and we’re all familiar with ‘If you’re not the customer, you’re the product being sold.’ I wonder how far the shrinking content space will go, though, before there is significant pushback. People view the space as ‘theirs’ even when logic tells them it’s not.

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