User Hostile UI

I don’t really like Facebook, but I have to use it because that’s where my friends are. (Well, my fiancée is there, and she makes my friends for me. So I use it. Begrudgingly.)

At first what I didn’t like about Facebook was that it is a thinly veilled CIA front, and even if that weren’t true, they are grossly negligent about privacy, meaning that the CIA could get all my data even if Facebook wasn’t using Langely for offsite backups. (And they are.)

But I digress. The reason I don’t like Facebook right this moment is this piece of user-hostile UI I got today:

The Publisher on your Profile has been updated

The Publisher—the box above your Wall—has been updated to match the one on your home page. No matter where you use the Publisher, your posts will appear here and in your friends’ streams, provided they can see the post.

OK, plus points because Facebook’s UI people realized I don’t know what they mean by “Publisher”. Minus points because they didn’t explain it successfully anyway, explaining it with respect to something else I never understood (“my wall”… WTF?). More minus points because they either don’t know, or don’t care that I DON’T CARE what they call the thing, and I don’t want to know if it’s there or not there. I will probably notice on my own (or not). And finally, minus points because I don’t like the font they used. (OK, that last one is a bit subjective, and frankly, it could have gone either way for the UI guys. So let’s compromise and call it minus 1.5 in total.)

Attention All UI Designers: please just get the fuck out of my face with your publishers and walls and stuff. Give me text boxes and buttons. Have them occasionally do something delightful and useful before I even know I want it. Don’t waste my time making me read your crappy descriptions of things you should not have to describe. Go read the Psychology of Everyday Things to find out why only fucked doors say “Push” on them, and why only fucked websites have explanations as stupid as yours on them. If you are too stupid to know that I’m talking about, search for “Bad Affordances”.

That is all.

PS: I want a bumper sticker that says “Bad Affordance”, and I want to go to Facebook HQ and put it on random cars. Bonus points if I actually hit a UI designer’s car.

PPS: When I write a webserver it’s going to have an error message, “503: Bad Affordance”. Heh.

PPPS: You-Eye and the Bad Affordances would be a really great band name. Not.


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