Forrester is out with an analysis of the usability of social sites – the findings seem to be rather standard and it seems to point out flaws and “good things” by comparing social sites that are not comparable from my point of view. Facebook, which is a social operating system (sort of Google for social) where not only folks but applications can connect, is compared to Linkedin.com, which is a faux job site with social networking potential.
According to Forrester, the notable failure points included:
Lack of privacy and security policies. Four out of the five sites failed to present links to privacy and security policies in context when asking users to provide personal information.
Text that was difficult to read. Three out of the five sites failed to provide easily readable content and field labels.
Inefficient task flows. Friendster and Tagged exhibited awkward sign-up processes, with Tagged achieving a severe failure score in this area. Tagged required the user to add contacts to the new profile from a personal email account, and pushed for additional personal information like home address and phone number.
Poor error recovery. Tagged, Facebook, and MySpace all failed to present users with clear error messages that might have helped correct mistakes. Facebook and MySpace presented error messages on registration forms one at a time, forcing users through multiple attempts at submitting their information.