Facebook Timeline's Keys to Creating a Soulful UI

December 28, 2011 Business Processes, General

Facebook Timeline’s Keys to Creating a Soulful UI

By Julia Salem

December 28, 2011

Facebook’s goal for the recently released timeline was not just to have an easy to use interface, but an interface that created an emotional experience. To do this, Nick Felton and Joey Flynn, two Facebook employees in charge of the project, had to think outside the usual UI framework of most social webpages. Rather than thinking about the site function, Timeline was created to represent how users tell their life stories and remember their own lives.

Timeline’s UI was created from each of the following keys to a soulful UI.

1) Time is The Most Universal Framework Across Cultures
People explain time through important moments, so Timeline decided to allow users to look through each event and decide which item deserves to be highlighted.

2) Life Feels Like A Stream; Life’s UI Should Too
Rather than clicking through content by specific years, the Timeline allows users to scroll down continuously “giving you the feeling of time whizzing by.”

3) Self-Expression Is About Content, Not Frills
Keeping the user experience consistent throughout each person’s Timeline was important to Facebook’s design team. Instead of allowing users to change the design, Facebook allows them to control what content is emphasized within the design framework.

4) We Relate To Old And New Experiences Differently
Facebook’s designers took this fact into consideration when creating the Timeline. Instead of giving the same weight to each event, no matter how old it is, Facebook has created aggregated reports that define the user’s identity over time.

5) The Importance of Dog-Fooding
Designers need to know that “Photoshop lies.” Just because the UI looks one way for you doesn’t mean that is how it will look for every user. To help get around this fact, Facebook released Timeline to employees during development to try to ensure it would work for all types of users.

Source Fast Company