Don’t Treat Users Like Children

facebook-logoWhen Facebook recently changed the design of the homepage that users see when they log in, hundreds of thousands (or dare I say millions) of users protested. Very strongly.

What was the problem? Poor design choices? Or poor communication? I personally think the design changes were great, many other people agree, Mike Arrington is just one of them.

The problem is not what the design actually looks like. The problem is that Facebook changed anything at all. I think that Facebook has become so integral people’s lives, that they see their homepage on facebook as literally being part of their lives.

Imagine it like the room that you had in your parents’ house. Remember? Your space. ‘Don’t Enter’ sign at the door. Your domain.

Facebook just walked into their users’ room and then they just changed the layout. The bed is in a different place, so are the desk and chair, and the wardrobe. It doesn’t matter whether the new layout is better or worse than before. They just went in there and changed it! How dare they: “I hate you!!!”

Solution: Give people the ability to design (and keep!) their own layout of their homepage. Let them put stuff where they want it. Help them design their ‘room’ in their taste. Empower them to get it their way.

Don’t be an invasive parent. Everybody hates that, regardless of your good intentions.

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