Facebook S.W.O.T Part 2 – Weaknesses

This is part 2 of a four part series that explores the new look Facebook and examines it using a S.W.O.T analysis

Part 1 – Strengths

Part 2 – Weaknesses

Part 3 – Opportunities

Part 4 – Threats

Vista or XP

Some users have made the comparison that the new look facebook is like using windows Vista, it looks fancy but its full of bugs and problems that still need ironing out. I was quite surprised that I found so many obvious issues that hadn’t been solved and also many omissions and functions that had apparently been taken away. It makes me wonder how the beta test group hadn’t picked up on them and what sort of demographics they chose for this test group (100,000 college kids???) I also wonder if facebook actually listen to feedback from their users. I should maybe apologise for the rather strong language that I included when I posted my initial feedback after my first 4 hours of frustration on the new platform.

Initial Teething Problems

I was reminded by one comment I read on the facebook page that in the early days people could go and change things on other peoples walls and even delete things on other peoples profiles. Maybe I should just have a bit more patience and not be so quick to criticise. I have also found that a lot of things have been moved around so you need to go and find them again. Mari Smith has made some great camtasia videos that take you through the new look profile, you can check them out on her fan page

Harder To Customise

While researching for this blog post I spent a long time reading all the comments and complaints on the facebook group page. From this I gathered that a lot of people felt that facebook had taken away their ability to express their individuality on their profile page. By forcing everyone’s profile to look almost identical. Many users had custom skins for their applications and bumper stickers, pictures and videos so their profile had become almost a work of art. Many users were furious at this forced uniformity and even went on to accuse facebook of big brother like tactics

At the time of writing almost all the applications that I would want to be show on my main page can’t be sent there. Instead they are left hidden inside my boxes tab where no one will ever find them. I hope that in the future this will change

Harder To Judge by First Impressions

For business users this is a big disadvantage of the new look facebook. On the old system if you knew what you were doing you could create a very powerful presentation by combining the right types of applications. People could instantly see in a glance what type of business were in and what type of networker you are . It now takes longer to decide who you want to accept as a friend. You have to hunt around for the telltale signs that attract and also repulse. Instead of scrolling we are now forced to click around different tabs. I suspect that with time I will still able to make the same assessment within 30 seconds that I can on the old facebook. It just takes a bit of getting used to

No shortcuts on the Profile page

Facebook has removed the shortcuts menu that used o be to the left and below your profile picture. It is now relegated to a position to the right and low down on the Home Page. I used this shortcuts menu all the time to access the groups pages. Making it harder to get to places will obviously reduce the numbers of people who go there so I foresee a potential decline in group activity, especially among new users who might not even know that groups exist.

Facebook have supposedly given you the option to create your own new tab on your profile but you are limited to a few applications that they recommend. I suspect that this is just a bug right now and will be changed in the future

Viral Potential Restricted

Facebooks new look has definitely reduced some of facebooks viral potential by making things harder to find and not immediately visible. This is especially the case for 3rd party applications if you can’t see them you can’t spread them so easily. A good friend who works for one of the top applications developers sent me some screen shots of how my profile was going to look 6 weeks ago. She warned me of how bad it was for application developers who have been abandoning facebook in droves. Facebook seems intent on courting the big money from major advertisers who will be utilising all that extra white space in the future.

Application Developers

Facebook applications developers have also been hit because you can no longer share you applications with friends. Admittedly this might reduce the number of forced application invites that people receive but it takes away the easy ability to share something of value. I suspect this will change as this is an important part of the facebook experience and also an integral part of some of the game applications. There were a lot of complaints about this issue on the facebook group page.

Designed for Advertising

The new profile is a much wider. Wide pages go against the natural tendencies of our foveal vision you can’t take it all in in one glance, so physically it makes the design uncomfortable to use, your eyes keep jumping around all the time

The Money Spot

Facebook has switched the advertising to the right hand side of the page, clearly to take advantage of the natural tendencies of people to focus on this area of the page. Marketers have already proved by using eye tracking software and split testing that the top right of a page is where the money spot is

Flash Distractions

I also found the animated flash graphics to be very distracting . One of the reasons I have always hated MySpace was because of this. But again, tests have shown that people click on things that move more because they grab your attention. When I was using the facebook chat facility the flash banner add was running right through the chat box and to get it out of the way I was forced to scroll the page downwards. I found this very annoying.

Please feel free to comment and add any other weaknesses that you have spotted in facebooks new design. Maybe someone will take notice. I saw that since Jim Turners recent note where he commented on the missing ignore all button that it has now been reinstated. Jesse Stay an author of two books on facebook also made an interesting blog post where he explored some of the missing features, New Facebook Design Confuses Many, Obscures Feature

Part 1 – Strengths

Part 2 – Weaknesses

Part 3 – Opportunities

Part 4 – Threats

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  1. Juan Antonio Alonso says:

    Hello Ian,
    I have been reading opinions of my friends, about the new version of FB. Some of them feel as happy as a lark with the new version, meanwhile others hate it to death.
    In my opinion, these are consequences of CHANGE.
    Now,my personal opinion is that I am enjoying the new features, without claiming the gone ones to be reinstalled.
    You can’t please everybody. So,my suggestion is: let´s enjoy Facebook’s HERE AND NOW.

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