The other day I saw this question on Quora: “What makes Facebook so incredibly good at design?“
What amuses me is not the question itself, it’s the majority of the answers that say Facebook sucks at design.
It seems to me like a bunch of complainers who think they know how to design a web site. Facebook is simple and consistent, but more importantly, as only one or two of the dozens of answers said, you can’t argue with success on their scale. I wonder how many of the answerers have a web site / app with 600 million users.
More impressively, Facebook is the only site ever that got my mom, my grandmother, and most of the rest of my extended family to use it on a regular basis. Not even email did that. And that is hard to beat.
This Quora thread is a perfect illustration why I don’t participate in most design debates. Get a hypothesis, test it out, adjust, repeat. Debates without data are useless when it comes to design. I hate wasting time on that.
Sorry to start the year off with a rant. I have many raves coming on this blog, I promise 😉
By the way, one of the answers on that thread is from Yishan Wong, who also wrote this great set of articles on engineering management at Facebook. Highly recommended reading.