Farhad Manjoo of Slate pens a great open letter to the Facebook crew about how to fix a site that seems to me to get less intuitive and useful with every redesign. His suggestions for a re-redesign are excellent: Make it easier to find your own stuff, ditch the worthless Highlights section, and fix Facebook messaging. And I have three more!
1) What's Up with All the Randoms?
In the center column of the Facebook homepage lives a stream of updates and photos from my friends. I currently have 800 friends, which I mentally subdivide into three groups: The ones I really care about, the ones I have not seen or spoken to in years, and the ones I don't really remember. Somehow, this central waterfall of status updates and pictures seems engineered to feature the latter two groups exclusively, and my Facebook homepage consistently looks like an awkward party populated by former internship acquaintances and people I haven't spoken to since Freshman year of college.
Would it be so difficult for Facebook's Homepage to work in an algorithm that promoted people you often visit on Facebook? It wouldn't have to be as explicit as that Facebook glitch which revealed the five people you most commonly searched. It would just heavily weight your closer friends by paying attention to the people you most often visit, so that the Homepage waterfall would look less like that awkward party and more like the kind of people you would leave that party to hang out with.
2) Why Is Facebook Chat So Bad?
It shouldn't be difficult to build a decent chat program. G-Chat and AIM work just fine. But Facebook chat seems designed to test my patience. Chats are announces with a faint watery ping that sounds like a leaky faucet. The program bugs out on me almost half the time. And sometimes when I try to click around the site, the pop-up box disappears, fades in like a ghost missing limbs, and continues to transmorph in all kinds of annoying ways. I don't have any bold ideas for changing Facebook Chat. It should just work.
3) Kill Facebook Poke
I shouldn't have to explain this recommendation. Poking was interesting for about four months (Was it sexual? Sarcastic? Teasing? All three?!) but now the function is a vestigial tail under my picture. Just get rid of it.
More ideas? Put 'em in the comment section.