I once had the TO-DO LIST application. I thought that if I’m on Facebook most of the day anyway, a to-do list on my “real desktop”would help me manage my tasks. I was wrong.
The application was stuck on my profile page, a click and a half away from my main page- the news feed page.
I threw it away.
My Facebook profile is designed for what other people would want to see and do in my profile. The most important thing about Facebook profiles, in my opinion, is to give your present friends and future friends the information they need about you and the opening to do what they want to do. If they don’t need it it’s not there. I either throw it away or hide it from sight. Look at your behavior on others profiles- you first go to check if you have friends in common, you go to the photos, you like to browse those, you might go to check if they write notes and what are their events. Do you care about animals, bears and virtual plants? If the answer is No and you have these apps on your profile- let them go.
I don’t use many applications on Facebook. My Facebook is a contact list, event coordinator, a dating system, a mail client, a photo album and a blog all-in-one.
For applications to enter my domain I need to need them first, and second, they need to be fun to handle.
For me, and I think I’m not special at this, there are a few rules application developers need to follow. I will write those, the order isn’t important:
1- Notifications: You have to understand, people don’t use their profile as a home page, they use the news feed page. The news feed page has the notifications jump out and all the requests popup. Application I don’t see on the right side there does not exist in my conscience, like the TO-DO list application. Make your application appear in the notifications area.
2- Icons- I think it’s obvious by now- don’t use icons when you design for Facebook, use words as links instead.
3- Pokes and messages- Allow people to send pokes from your application, not dummy pokes- the real ones, that do not require the installation of the program in order to acknowledge them. Let people send a message to their friends. Ask yourself why do people have to leave my application if i can make them stay a bit longer?! If you give them a chance to poke and email from your application, they will not leave your application to go to another application, the Inbox, they will stay.
4- Invite your friends- allow people to invite their friends to the application but don’t force them to do that. Applications I “must” invite friends to in order to use I throw away.