I have been involved in a project with my company to develop a Facebook App for a client of ours.. It has been a journey for the team and my self to work on this basically because we were working on moving sand… Any one who has developed any software application understands the need to have a platform to base on… But no, we had to do it under Facebook… ?
By now, we have all either attended , watched, or have read about the F8 developers conference on Sep 22nd. Although not a fan of Andy Samberg trying to play Mark Zuckerberg, it was a good way to layout the foundation of what we can and should expect from Facebook. I can understand that change is going to happen, well, it is the right year for it.. But again, why the change…? Well, those promoting change will say, change is for the better. In software development, I would like to say if it not broken no need to fix it.. So what is the purpose of the change in Facebook?
The new Ticker and news updates
If you are a Facebook user and part of the 800 million or so + (F8 statistics) you must have noticed how they moved from filtering out friends you do not interact with, to hiding news post from pages you are subscribed to, to adding a ticker on the side to tell you who is doing what in real time without having to refresh the home link every time. If you are one of the million or so who started submitting petitions to Facebook to restore the old interface you now understand that change was not based on insight or let’s be specific and say user’s insight or behavior. The real reason is revealed when you see that more ads are to show up on Facebook, and more ads are to be targeting the new ticker or news updates.
So now we know where the change is coming from? And to many who do believe in posting ads on Facebook you did it !!! The income from those ads justifies the shift to meet the demand. I personally tried removing ads from Facebook, and with the new interface, those ads seem to show up again, which defies the concept of the people’s social network.
I do not blame Facebook for trying to figure out ways to capitalize on its platform and leverage new functionalities that generate profit. My only worries is that the path into this might exhaust the user especially those who are not that technically enabled with a majority of seniors who are growing as the fastest age group of users. From a technical point of view , I do understand that maintaining both objectives on the table is hard, however, it will not be long before those users find it hard to go about checking their grand children’s photo’s without switching the chat side bar of, or making the ticker stop updating , or un-subscribing from their daughter’s profile and wondering why she is not sharing the photo’s any more.
What this has to do with the APP
Well, since we decided to do Facebook , Apps are all about user experience and with a changing platform it is quite a task to lay the facts right without having a ground to lay the foundations upon.
So did Facebook play it right this time, or can the users and developers beat Facebook at their own game and vote them off? One more update is coming to add the timeline to the user’s profile…. one thing to look forward to ….not really…..