Not so flawless Facebook
Despite having nearly a billion people actively using Facebook
, their user interface has some problems. Facebook is meant to be helping us connect and find our friends, but its search function is actually hindering this fundamental process.
After watching my wife try to find a friend we knew was in Facebook I discovered that the use of Facebook's predictive search was actually making it really difficult to find friends. The search is limiting results to the top exact matches and hiding all the rest. If there is not an exact match to your search you are given a tiny message "top 0 results" and need to click through to see the rest of the search result. My wife didn't realise she had (or could) click through. I then observed a few other people at Fusion use Facebook and they overlooked this important link as well. How many people have NOT connected with their friends and family due to this user interface flaw?
Limiting search results has its benefits when there are a huge amount of findings, but when there are no top results or exact matches you should a least be shown the closest option. The problem with the click through to view results is that it relies on the user reading that this is a link. A link should intuitively look like a link, without relying on someone reading its text. Which would be a very simple fix for Facebook to make.
With user observation and testing Facebook would have discovered this flaw easily themselves. Usability testing is a fundamental process to ensure your customers can easily move through your website and achieve their goals. Being confronted with no search results or no possible friends is not what Facebook has been built on.
With the impending public float, the value of Facebook's connections between friends is core to the sustainable growth of the business; an ever growing network of people putting thier faces to brands. I will look on with interest to see if this Facebook flaw is corrected over the coming months. Maybe if the do implement a fix, they can throw me a few shares for highlighting the issue!