Design is about identifying, understanding, and ultimately feeling your end users’ needs, and then meeting those needs. Facebook Home, like countless SV startups, looked beautiful, worked elegantly, and didn’t meet any needs.
I’d go a bit further and say it’s actually designed badly. Facebook Home rested on two major assumptions:
- Your friends put good, recognizable pictures of themselves as their profile photo.
- Your friends post photos so good that you’d like to see a selection of them, chosen automatically, on your lock screen.
OK, show of hands:
- How many of your friends’ profile photos are either barely recognizable from poor lighting or angle choices (if you’re under age 25), or have become pictures of babies instead (if you’re 25 or older)?
- How many of your friends’ photos are so good that you’d rather see them randomly on your lock screen instead of a great photo of your choice that you took?
Facebook Home was flat-out badly designed: it’s designed for optimal input and failed to consider real-world usage.
And it looks like demand for Home was from the same imaginary world as their perfect input.