What’s Wrong with UX Designers of Facebook and Twitter (and What’s Right!)

July 23, 2015
Posted in Blog, Design
July 23, 2015 Anubhav Tiwari

Have you ever noticed the profile page layouts of Facebook, Instagram (web), Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr? Before I dig in deeper and try to make sense of how I see them, I would like you to have a look at them:

Facebook Profile page looks like this:

Facebook Profile Page

Twitter “Me” Page:

Twitter Profile Page Layout

LinkedIn Profile Page:

LinkedIn Profile Page Layout

Instagram Profile Page:

Instagram Profile Page Layout

Flickr “You” Page:

Flickr Page Layout

Do you see a pattern? The layout of all these pages has something similar. There is a pattern with the cover image covering the screen length, a profile picture in the left corner, and then the build up.

This is the basic layout of all these pages:

Profile Page Layout
But why do profile pages of all these Internet giants have similar layouts?
Are they copying each other?
Is there a lack of experimentation?

No. The answer is: User Experience, more commonly known as UX!

UX answers all the questions related to the target user of the website. When giants like Facebook and Twitter design these pages, they have to cater to their end users’ needs, experiences, comfort level and so on. And hence, it becomes important that they take the following factors into consideration when designing these layouts:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Performance
  3. Surface Design
  4. Usability
  5. Desirability
  6. Accessibility
  7. Credibility

It is not easy to arrive at one layout that incorporates all these factors. There is a cycle of events which needs to take place to achieve this. You start prototyping, you do a lot of research, then you make it, test it, change it, and the cycle continues.

User Experience Design

Success is validated by the end user, and when you arrive at that, it becomes the norm.
These Internet giants must have gone through this rigorous process over multiple iterations before arriving at this layout, which has now become the norm.

And the story doesn’t end here. A lot of effort goes into interaction design, visual design, content strategy, data analytics and information architecture. And then one fine day, you may arrive at a design which most people like!

These big shots have realized that there is no point in making the website unique, visually appealing, different from others if the users are not sticking to it. There is no harm in having a layout that is similar to what others have if it’s working.
But there are a few questions which only the future can answer:

  1. Is user-centered design killing design innovation?
  2. Will aesthetics become secondary?
  3. Who will dare to take the next bold step to create a trend?

With the changes in the way users are consuming information on the Internet, everything is becoming more business-driven. Design is no exception. To stand out, designers will have to keep business—and UX—in mind.

Find out more on how your web design can help generate leads for your business.

Comments (4)

  1. Harshvardhan

    Twitter actually redesigned their profile pages to imitate a FB ripoff. This emphasized the photo viewing capabilities in Twitter, while addressing the more mainstream customers, i.e. people using FB. Twitter has always had an issue reaching out to the masses unlike FB, and this move actually made the 2 look very similar.
    There was a huge cry about this redesign among twitter enthusiasts but ultimately, it worked for good. the number of new users that joined Twitter was far greater than the ones who probably left (if any) due to this redesign.
    Similarly, LinkedIn is also trying to catch up with the current trends. Eventually, they are all competing with each other for the masses, providing similar experience and services. there may be drawbacks to this approach, but for the users, it makes perfect sense at present.
    Actually, the customers are setting the trends. notice how the mainstream apps keep trying new designs and once accepted, transform them into trends. There are always a gamble in trying something new and putting it up front to the users, but that is how they test their designs. If accepted, it becomes the trend, otherwise they revert back or try something new.
    I also think that minimalistic is the new aesthetic. I might be wrong there, but that is how the trend is going. flat, minimalistic designs are in!
    Let me know your thoughts.

    • Anubhav

      Hi Harsh,
      Your comment is insightful! Portals seems to have standardized their layout 🙂
      Can not agree more to your statement – “the customers are setting the trends”. Designers and UX experts must listen to the end customers and I feel they indeed are absorbing this fact, getting more and more empathetic with their target segments.
      Minimalistic and Flat seems to be running the show already. It will be interesting to see where we will head from here – back to gradients or something new!

  2. Shwetketu Rai

    Very true. People are very much interested in social networking and information exchange and they rarely feel the issues you have raised. But yes if design can enhance the interest of user while sharing the information among circle it would be a great. It would be new age of thinking #innovation

    • Anubhav Tiwari

      Evolution of design has become interesting now! It is a good sign that people don’t feel these issues while navigating on the web. The days people stop missing design – the design will be at its best!

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