04 July 2013

Robert Scoble: “Facebook has a deeper problem than just Vine/Twitter”

If I were an exec at Facebook, like Sheryl Sandberg, I would be VERY troubled by all this. It's not enough to have a hacker culture anymore. You have to have a design culture, too. It's amazing that Google is getting the upper hand at that. Robert Scoble

Hmm, forgive me if I don’t take design opinions very seriously from a guy who used to have as cover photo a picture of himself in the shower wearing Google Glass!

Facebook vs. Google Plus profiles

Yes, photos are bigger on Google+, but that doesn’t necessarily make the design better. Just compare two profiles on and +: while Google’s design may be more ‘modern’, it also takes up huge amounts of space with the black menu bar, the search box and the cover photo. On a normal browser window you actually see only the cover photo and a small grey text at the bottom; the ‘Message’ option along with detailed information and posts are buried under the fold. There is a ‘Profile’ link on the left and ‘Hangouts’ on the right, but those are linked to your own profile, not the one you are viewing. The page has a disconcerting habit of rearranging itself every time you move around, so I’m never quite sure of what’s going to happen next. I’m not a big fan of the multi-column layout either, it just adds to the other distractions. On the other hand on Facebook you have a clear delimitation between you – the links in the navbar, very slim by comparison – and the profile you’re viewing. It may look outdated, but it’s more efficient and predictable. Not to mention most battles are fought on the mobile ground these days, where Facebook certainly has a design culture – as demonstrated when they designed a more beautiful face for Android than Google could.

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