Why Facebook shouldn't replace the Wall with Timeline

The other day on Facebook, I was visiting a friend's new Timeline and came across an interesting comment:

"Timeline makes Facebook SO confusing. It takes me back to Myspace days."

I mulled over that comment for a few days and now I have some thoughts.

Timeline is a great retrospective, but not a great way to live in the now.
Timeline is visually attractive, but far less usable. It doesn't work for people who live out their daily lives on Facebook. Its focus is on summarizing the past, not living out the present. People use Facebook to interact with friends about what's happening right now, not to browse through what they did between 2006-2011. Timeline is too much like a yearbook to be useful for people who live out their active lives on the social networking site.

The Facebook Wall and Newsfeed differ from Timeline in one very important way: they were one column.
Timeline is far less scannable and takes a lot more work to parse information because of the two-column format. Facebook is trying to solve an issue that's existed as long as social profiles have been around: how to fit more information (specifically status updates) on a screen. Unfortunately, it's just not natural to move the eyes down the screen in sometimes diagonal, sometimes horizontal patterns. What's worse is that it takes mental processing to figure out what post to look at next. The reason the Wall was so successful (along with Newsfeed) were because you didn't have to move your eyes. You could consume information by effortlessly scrolling down the page.

People left Myspace for Facebook because it was cleaner and simpler to use.
Because of the customization Myspace allowed, profiles were messy and out of control. The comment above is worrisome because it sounds like the average internet user is starting to feel the same way about Timeline as we used to feel about Myspace profiles: too cluttered, too busy, and not useful enough to be worth it.

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Overall the look and feel of Timeline is nice, and its definitely the most visually stunning product Facebook has built. But Timeline should be relegated to a retrospective view - something that strictly summarizes your life, not something that tries to play out every minute of life as it happens.

30 responses
Hear, hear! I think this change is different than previous changes, though we all griped about those too. It might even send me to (gasp!) Google Plus!\
Don't like it
i Dont think that. Timeline is very much usable...
How do I describe the complicated emotions I harbor towards Timeline? Oh yes, that's right...

Bless. Their. Hearts.

Co-sign!! The new layout looks pretty nice up top and people are doing some creative things withthe banner/thumbnail combo but I HATE the functionality of the whole thing.
I personally love the timeline on FB, but I suppose it will depend on how you plan on using your FB. I use my newsfeed to keep up to date in real-time with my friends' status updates and then I peruse the profiles (timelines) when I have more time or I have added a new person to my list.

:o)

Could not agree more. Mainly I never go on FB due to the constant confusing but more than anything "Non Consistent" layout and timeline of FB.. So much stuff appears one minute then you go to another page and then come back to main page and things are different or items missing that were there 2 minutes ago. Seriously I believe FB is way way highly overrated. Much do to the "Hype" not because its a functional reliable site with consistent design. Personally I really believe its the kiddy myspace of social sites. Also honestly 80% of who I see using it on a regular basis tend to be the novice computer users that seriously do not know any better. Or would not know a decent web site or navigation design if it bit them in the ass. That includes my friends and family for the most part who try to use it as a form of regular communication? Yikes..
التخطيط الجيد هو ما يجعل الحياة أبسط وأسهل
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