Update: Check out the October 11, 2010 follow-up to this article: “Fortune.com revisits some of my ideas in light of the introduction of Facebook Groups“
There has been a lot of discussion recently about Facebook and privacy. Users are angry, upset, and concerned that Facebook is exposing their private information without their consent.
JP Mangalindan from Fortune.com recently contacted me and asked me and several other User Experience professionals and designers how we would redesign Facebook’s privacy settings (if you want to jump ahead and see the end result, view his article here). I then started working on what turned out to be an incredibly challenging design problem. I quickly learned that creating a safe and secure environment on the popular social network while still accomplishing Facebook’s desire to increase information sharing is easier said than done.
The challenges include needing to thoroughly understand the current privacy concerns, what needs user have to address these concerns, and how to design an interface that not only puts a new face on the current system, but addresses deeper issues with how privacy is integrated into the user experience.