Rant of the Day: Facebook Timeline

Am I the only one that sees Facebook Timeline as a sub-feature instead of a complete interface? Strictly from a UX point of view, it doesn’t make sense – if you’re friends with someone, why do you (as a friend) need to go back and review that person’s history? I don’t need to have instant access to what my friends were doing 1-2-5 years ago, I (should) already know that – I care about what they’re doing now!

Now, I love the concept of Timeline, if it were delivered as a sub-function. How about a menu link called ‘Timeline’ that allows me to see the history of that person (assuming we’re friends). I might meet someone new, become FB friends and be curious about that person’s background – hey, great! But you don’t put all that stuff up front, especially for close friends (which is what Facebook is SUPPOSED to be for – duhh!).

Oddly, I’ve been hearing warnings about being forced to move to Timeline, but I’m still rocking the classic interface, and so are a lot of my friends. On pure speculation, I suspect that the people who have Timeline implemented on their profiles have a decreased activity level (reading, posts, sharing, likes, etc) that Facebook is picking up on. There has to be a reason, because they announced it in September 2011, and have made several announcements that Timeline will soon be ‘mandatory’ and yet there’s still a sizable segment of the audience who haven’t been converted.

I, for one, can’t stand Timeline as an interface – it’s haphazard and disjointed. Things are hard to follow chronologically, and it feels rightly squished, and I KNOW I’m not the only one. If I’m forced to switch over, I’ll probably find myself using Facebook less, maybe much less, and again, I KNOW I’m not the only one.

So Facebook – pay heed to the gripes of your (admittedly) freeloading ‘customers’, because your Timeline interface is the blinking, bizarre font colors of yesteryear’s Myspace..

UPDATE: Now I feel even more strongly that Timeline has been a negative for Facebook, per their new acqui-hire:

“Facebook tests product changes more frequently than nearly any service. Bringing in Nate Bolt and some of his teammates will help it understand exactly how users feel about changes and avoid blunders like Beacon.

Right now, Facebook typically pushes design changes to a tiny fraction of its user base through its Gatekeeper system. It then watches the usage data to see if users engage with new features or changes, and how engagement, sharing, and time-on-site change. Changes that improve these metrics often get pushed to the whole user base. Innovating and iterating in a way that pushes people’s boundaries is good, but Facebook needs to be careful not to roll out new features too far before its users are ready for the future.”