Everyone has been freaking out today (seriously) about the new Mini-Feed feature on Facebook… so much so that less than 24 hours after the release, the Facebook staff had to write a retraction to try and compensate for all of the bad feedback they were getting.
I’d like to go on my soap box for just a moment. When I was getting ready to go to CMU to get my Masters degree in Human-Computer Interaction, my uncle told me that he didn’t see the need for the field, saying it was “obvious.” I heard the same sentiment from a developer at Microsoft when I first dropped off my resume last September.
This is why usability is not obvious. If you don’t take time to study what people actually want in a product, it will come back to bite you in the ass! And people will complain! And the feature you rolled out with glamour and glitz in the morning will be the feature you’re apologizing for later that night!
The worst part of it, though, has to be the nice little message that I saw on my profile today:
I’m sorry… Awesome? That’s my only choice? “Awesome?” Not “Bullshit!” or “What the hell were you thinking?” or “You’re kidding, right?” Aside from the fact that there’s a basic usability problem of not providing an option in cases like this… Awesome was just such a bad word to choose. (To quote Rob Corddry) I mean, COME ON!