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Unlike Orkut, why doesn't Facebook allow users to change their homepage theme color, style, etc.?

Do they want people to use their UX or colour strategies?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Devin, Joel Tebbett, Midas, locationunknown, JonW Aug 25 '17 at 11:50

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Opposite question: why should they? Facebook is one website, it's not a blogging platform where every user has a separate site. Also, implementing theming would require additional work for no real benefit. – Andrea Lazzarotto Aug 24 '17 at 12:04
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    Through browser addons, you're free to style Facebook as much as you'd like. These modifications only appear for you, though. – Tyzoid Aug 24 '17 at 12:47
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    They probably learned some lessons from Myspace – Midas Aug 24 '17 at 12:49
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    I hope they are instead working on fixing the endless number of bugs that plague Facebook. – Tomáš Zato Aug 24 '17 at 21:11
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    Doesn't "Unlike Orkut..." basically answer this question all by itself? – mattdm Aug 25 '17 at 2:29
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There are far more important things when it comes to UX for Facebook

A site with 2.5 billion active users needs to constantly rethink things, test them, make them better, add new functions etc. the UX gain is far too small and the impact on the overall site far too big.

How do you measure how users react to different things if one user has a background in magenta and the other user a background in black etc. elements don't work the same on every design.

Also, the global brand identity gets weakened if you let your users decide that Facebook looks different for every user.

  • "How do you measure how users react to different things" --> The same way you measure how a user reacts to other things; e.g. mobile layouts, correlation between age and click happiness, gender comparisons, etc. Facebook, like google, does that already. – phresnel Aug 24 '17 at 12:14
  • @phresnel but in this specific case you have no grasp on what they user decides to do. They could make their whole UI completely unreadable and unuseable. – Summer Aug 24 '17 at 12:16
  • @JaneDoe1337: The questioner would need to clarify how far this theming should go. Just a few color tweaks? Change in behaviour could be measured quite simply. Complete layout tweaks? That's more complex, yes. Yet Facebook could put the tweaker into a bucket with other users, by means of other criteria (age, gender, interests, geographic locations), and then do something as simple as comparing click through rates between bucket members to find statistical outliers. Don't forget that advertising and maximizing ad revenue is Facebook's bread and butter. – phresnel Aug 24 '17 at 12:25
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    I don't really understand how enabling its users to customize their themes makes companies load more money into facebook for ad's. "Don't forget that advertising and maximizing ad revenue is Facebook's bread and butter." - Yeah thats obvious as hell since on every video i watch on Facebook i get a video ad after like 20 seconds of watching... – Pectoralis Major Aug 24 '17 at 13:14
  • I'd think many of those 2.5 billion users probably don’t care about theming at all. Changing themes is something geeky, an average users would likely just ignore that feature unless he’s explicitly told to select a theme like Facebook does with profile images. Doing so would lengthen the on-boarding process without providing any value to Facebook. (Profile images on the other side do provide a lot of value to Facebook.) – idmean Aug 25 '17 at 9:10
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I'll point to Reddit as an example of why not to allow users to redesign their pages: it becomes a fragmentation issue. If you allow users to control the look and feel of the software, then you lose control of the experience. Reddit has mostly kept the same, dated design for a number of years, because a cohesive redesign means they will strip subreddits of their designs.

How welcoming is this (notably self-aware) /r/crappydesign subreddit to new users of Reddit?

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I'll add that Stack Exchange allows for the customization of colors, logos, and voting buttons per community. Although not available to users, this gives a personal touch but retains control over the vast majority of the UI.

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    Stack Exchange allows for the customization of colors, logos, and voting buttons per community. -- This is a bit misleading. While communities are solicited for feedback on designs, those designs are created by Stack Exchange, not the community. There are no customization options available to the community, either in the UI or otherwise. – Robert Harvey Aug 25 '17 at 0:39
  • To clarify—I brought it up as an example of how to customize without changing the experience. You are right, it's not available to SE users. – Alan Aug 25 '17 at 0:41
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The theme and colours are part of Facebook's brand. It keeps everything consistent, and stops people from creating "ugly" pages.

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why doesn't Facebook allow users to change their homepage theme color, style, etc.?

Another reason they don't do that is - When users share their problems to FB help centre, their screenshots should look the same. If people used personalized styles, it is possible that it may interfere in correctly identifying and reproducing a particular problem a user is having.

In short: Because it causes hindrance when reproducing a bug

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