Ever since Facebook woke up and started a series of relatively major changes to its user interface, I’ve been finding it frustrating to use.
I’m not alone of course - many people have said the same. I’m not from the “all change is bad” school of thought, so it wasn’t just that a few buttons had moved around - which seems to be the gist of most of the criticism I’ve seen and heard.
For some reason, I just started to enjoy using Facebook less. The stuff it showed me seemed less relevant, and I felt less engaged.
I’ve been puzzling for a while about why exactly this is, and I’ve come up with a theory.
Stephen Fry writes:
“On a wholly different note, is it just me, or are the big internet players all getting rather nasty and styleless at the moment? Google is irritating the crap out of everyone with its new rules and protocols. It has also, quite literally, been caught with its hand in the cookie-jar. Spotify has lost all the world’s affection and respect by locking itself into Facebook. Facebook continues to startle everyone with new depths of asinine redesign and security madnesses. And Twitter, Twitter has taken Loren Brichter’s (@lorenb) quite brilliant original Tweetie client, turned it into the “official” Twitter app for desktop and mobile devices of all stripes and is slowly stripping it of all useful functionality and the almost lickable glide, ease and sweetness of use that first brought it to everyone’s attention. Maybe Dick Costolo (@dickc) and Biz Stone (@Biz) of Twitter and other players in these huge entities all feel that it is payday – time to cash in. Maybe they know something we don’t about the future of banking and need liquidity now.”
Nope. Not just you Stephen.
I’ve just realised that since I moved to the www.bornsleepy.com domain, comments have in effect been turned off.
This was an accident, and not tacit agreement with Matt Gemmell!
They are now back on, for now at least. I have some sympathy for the idea of turning them off, but traffic here at the moment is low enough that I can cope.
That means that you can also reach me at sam AT bornsleepy.com if you really want to (but I’ll continue to use my elegantchaos.com address as my default).
This not very exciting story caught my attention this morning, as it occurred to me that this sort of behaviour is a pretty good barometer of Apple’s post-Jobs health.
If you can’t be bothered to follow the link, it’s basically about the fact that negotiations between Apple and the Japanese mobile phone carrier have stalled because Apple have a long-standing policy of not allowing carriers to pre-install software on the phone.
This kind of junk-ware (often characterised as helpful, but typically just a vehicle for marketing and cross-promotion), is endemic on many other phones and on Windows PCs, and it really, really sucks.
I don’t worry too much about things like product innovation at Apple continuing after Steve. I worry a lot more about Apple losing the independence of spirit and strength of character that allows them to overturn the business orthodoxy and do things in the right way for the optimum user experience.
If Apple ever start allowing carriers to pre-install software on the iPhone, or partners to put stickers on the box, it will be a sign that the end is nigh.