Sunday, February 28, 2010

Websites: The Face of an Organization

The website I have chosen to analyze is Facebook. Facebook is a social networking site whose purpose is to offer millions of people around the world the ability to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. 
Until recently, Facebook was typically used for personal use but with the sudden increase in popularity of social media, Facebook has been turned into a great resource for companies to market themselves by creating Facebook "Fan" pages where they can interact with their customers the same way any other person can interact on their personal profiles. The fan pages do come with some perks but it has become one of the most popular mediums for companies to take advantage of. 
Facebook has certainly achieved its "purpose" with people all over the world uploading photos constantly to Facebook of their travels or family outings or even their night's out with friends. Furthermore, it has provided businesses the ability to develop bonds with their consumers like never before.

As many of you probably know, Facebook is structured in a way that is tailored to you. A recent redesign of Facebook has allowed them to better serve their customers. The home screen gives you access to a "Top News" feed and a "Most Recent" news feed. Additionally, the left hand column gives you easy access to your messages, your applications, as well as your photos. The right hand side of the homepage is filled with "suggestions" that Facebook recommends to you based on your profile information. Lastly, the right hand side also has ads that Facebook has been able to make money through.

Facebook certainly serves it's customers effectively. Facebook is quick to listen to user feedback whenever something gets rolled out and is always sure to change anything that might not be working. Facebook is unique because it acts somewhat like an e-mail client by giving you the chance to send messages to your friends Facebook profiles or individual e-mail addresses. This next topic can be argued but one way Facebook serves their customers is the ability to suggest friends you may not have known were on Facebook or the option of reconnecting with a friend you haven't been interacting with. From my experience, the people they recommend I reconnect with or add as friends I don't really care for so I wouldn't mind if they just got rid of that feature or gave us the ability to hide that.

Facebook is not made up of too many graphics, but mostly text. The only graphics you will see are either from applications or profile pictures or even just the Facebook logo. The marketing and sales principles of Facebook is certainly made up of various e-business features. Currently Facebook is having a hard time trying to find out how they can begin to create money. There are talks of Facebook offering a "Facebook Gold" account where members can pay for an upgraded version of Facebook but with some perks, all rumors though. Facebook relies on most of their marketing online, but with the boom in social media, you have probably seen Facebook ads like the Verizon Fios commercial where it tells you that you can now update your Facebook status from your TV (because we all know that the computer, the iphone, the BlackBerry, and the ipod touch aren't enough platforms to update your status right? :) ). Some features that Facebook uses to make money is through advertisements that appear on the side panels, as well as allowing users to buy small virtual gifts to send to other friends.

Some things I would currently change about Facebook is giving the current design a small tweak. Currently it features a frame on the left as well as a horizontal frame at the top of the browser. Currently if you move anywhere away from the homepage you lose the left panel. I would recommend Facebook to keep the left panel constantly available and only let the center of the screen change. By doing this, it allows the user to have access to messages, photos, videos by just one click. The other change I would recommend, is giving users more control of the look of their profile. I would like to have the ability to change the theme of my profile or move the panels around as I please. 
If any other recommendations come to mind I will let you know but in the mean time I would love to hear anyone else's recommendations for Facebook!

~Until Next Time~



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