I couldn’t resist, I clicked the Timeline feature on Facebook. I suspect that Timeline will become a prime example of an epic fail.
1. No explanation given:
Clicking the about button provides an Apple-esque commercial, which happens to look a lot like the “Dear Sophie” ad. It provides no information about the mechanics of use. This is a nice combo with a buggy interface. Some Timeline options such as edit cover image don’t seem to work and details of all usage are not provided before your “preview” begins.
2. Preview isn’t a preview:
If you hit that “try it” button, that all she wrote. You can’t go back. Obviously, someone at Facebook doesn’t have a dictionary otherwise this stuff would better labeled.
3. It looks like MySpace:
Oh, how many times has this been said? Well, it does and it has all the problems of MySpace too. The critical flaw of this design is social interaction. Removing other people’s posts from your Timeline sends a message, as does not including content about friends. And that message is not friendly. Also see 6.
4. Tagging’ hostility:
Are you a guy tagged in a Little Miss image? Guess what? You have to report that person as hostile or block them to remove the tag. Nice message to send to the GF or wife. Why isn’t “I just don’t like it” an option?
5. Old information reappears:
This one is alarming. I downloaded all of my information using the Facebook provided archive option last year. Then I deleted all of my pictures from my albums and uploaded only a select handpicked few. I guess Facebook really didn’t delete those images, because when I switched to Timeline some of them came back. Nice glaring privacy issue, because any percentage of 1,000+ images is really noticeable.
6. Hide, delete, remove?:
If you hide/delete/remove content where does it go? What is the difference between hide and remove? If a friend posts to your Timeline you have three choices: keep it as is, hide it or delete it. “Hide from Timeline” is the passive-aggressive option, its delete without actual deletion. Using hide or delete are both hostile to people who share with you.
“What you didn’t like my stuff?”
7. Not optimized for small screens:
How is this going to look on my 7 inch tablet, notebook, Kindle? Oddly, the only thing I can’t see is the ads on the right column. Removing your ad support base is a terrible way to make money from ads. The screen should rescale proportionally.
8. No self-interaction:
This is a flaw G+ and Timeline share. The profile page (G+) or Timeline screen (Facebook) is a secondary screen for the user. The user can completely ignore the screen… until they have a privacy issue like an unwelcome link or posting on their timeline.
9. Loads slowly:
Obviously, Timeline is a dynamic webpage. That is really an unfortunate name as dynamic sort of implies progress while Timeline makes you watch a progress bar as the page loads.
10. No opt out:
This is always a bad design flaw and one that social media tends to dive into head first.
I figure I will spend the next week or so tweaking and to see if this a valid method of interaction. At the end of the day, I suspect I will have three options: Live with it (unlikely), delete my account (possible) or delete all of my content then cancel the account so I can re-register with a clean slate (most likely).