3 Things Facebook Must Do in 2012

CIO.com's Kristin Burnham shares her Facebook wish list for the New Year, from privacy changes to a search redesign. What do you want from Facebook in 2012?

The past year was a busy one for Facebook. It launched a medley of new products, such as its Social Inbox, a controversial facial recognition feature and a video calling capability.

It also released a number of updates and redesigns: most notably the revamped News Feed and the new profile, called Timeline, that just rolled out publicly

While Facebook did make strides in privacy and security this year, there are still a number of features and changes I'd like to see in 2012. Here's my short list. Check it out and then add your comments and tell us what you want from Facebook in the next year

1. A Better Timeline Design

Facebook made Timeline available to the public yesterday, and already a lot of the sentiment toward it is negative. That's not all that surprising, though: Facebook users hate change.

I've already aired my grievances about Facebook's new profile design here. It's clear, though, that it's not going away—but there is room for Facebook to improve on it.

In 2012, I want a cleaner, less-cluttered Timeline design. Before, I could easily see a snapshot of my most recent wall posts without having to scroll too far down. Now, though, navigating through older posts is like wading through water: It'll take you forever to get to where you're going thanks to the new emphasis on jumbo-sized photos and graphics.

Also, regardless of the name Timeline, it's just not easy to follow—older posts flip-flop sides of the page every time you post something new. And since you can emphasize and deemphasize posts, the larger ones become even more distracting. I'd like to see Facebook revert to a more simplistic, minimalistic design.

2. An Easy-to-Navigate Privacy Center

Facebook's many privacy faux pas are no secret. Earlier this year, in an attempt to go back to the drawing board and simplify, Facebook rolled out an entirely redesigned Privacy Center.

The reaction was mixed—many commended Facebook for recognizing that this was a big problem, but it still isn't quite there. In the redesign, Facebook condensed a number of settings, which, indeed, simplified the number of settings users have to deal with, but it also replaced some with blanket settings, which are more difficult to personalize.

Privacy and security are make-it-or-break-it areas of Facebook that it will need to contend with next year. Making it easier to find, adjust and keep up with these settings will keep users happy and Facebook out of trouble.

3. Better Search

In September, the company announced that a new class of apps will be making its way on Facebook. They're more social, "let you express who you are through all the things you do," according to Facebook, and place sharing at its forefront.

As more of these apps roll out, more users will be looking for them. Consequently, I want to see an overhaul of Facebook's search function.

Right now, when you enter a keyword into Facebook's search bar, you can’t specify whether you're looking for a friend, a potential friend, someone to subscribe to, an app, a page or a place. As a result, Facebook spits back answer for all of them.

Even something as simple as a drop-down menu next to the search window that lets you select what you're looking for would be a big improvement on its current search capability.

We all know how much data Facebook has collected, so it's time for it to make better use of it.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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