A quick critique of a Facebook rooster announcement

A “rooster” is an anchored (non-pop-up) but closeable announcement at the top of a page, usually seen on a landing page after you log in, eg., on Facebook, at the top of News Feed.

When Facebook rolled out a new feature called Subscribe which allows users to see (public) posts in their News Feed by people who aren’t on their friends list), they let users know about this by showing a rooster at the top of the News Feed. There are a couple of things wrong with this rooster that I’ll describe below and suggest remedies for.

1. The wording of this particular rooster was clunky: “Now you can let anyone get things you share publicly right in their News Feeds.” You’d have to read that sentence out loud, just to get its meaning.

2. Users don’t read. If a user can’t figure out how to use your new feature just by clicking around on it, please reconsider how you’re presenting it to them. Fortunately, “subscribing” is a simple and straightforward functionality, so users will be able to figure out how it works just by noticing it and clicking on it. Since the idea of “subscribing” is straighforward, this feature would have been better highlighted with a flag that says “New” or some other simple highlighting technique, rather than a disembodied text box in a different location.

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