Will New Facebook Share My Searches?

With the bad publicity Facebook has received in the past over privacy concerns, keeping user data safe is likely at the top of the company’s priority list. The latest design brings the possibility for users to accidentally expose their searches as status messages.

Here is a the top left of the old and new designs of the Facebook home page:

Facebook designs: old and new

Notice anything? The box in the upper left used to be a search, but now it’s the status box. The two are virtually in the same place, yet have very different functions. Old habits die hard. In the last month, whenever I’ve gone to search, my eye and my mouse immediately go to the text input in the upper left. I’ve nearly publicized my search several times.

Yes, it’s a user error, but it’s also a user experience error. No, I haven’t made the mistake yet, nor have any of my friends, but I bet it’s happened. It won’t matter in the long run, as new users will only know the new Facebook, and longtime users will get used to the change. But it’s something to consider in your own radical redesigns. Don’t set users up for failure with your design changes.

Facebook just reached its 100 millionth user this week. Venture Beat notes that 20% of FB users have switched to the new design. That could be a lot of embarrassed users, hoping to find Miley Cyrus’ profile.

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