Adding Friends To A Facebook Event Sucks

It’s rather obvious Facebook did not design around the actual content that would fit into their events “Add Guests” dialog box. Here’s a few things I’ve noticed that make it not usable and frustrating to use.

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I hate doing it, but it’s the only way to get 15 of my buddies all on the same invite for our monthly poker game at my house. It’s not like everyone has a Google account and I can utilize the calendar to set up a recurring invite. Which would be great if Facebook allowed recurring events, but that’s another post.

Dialog boxes have always been abused.

Facebook, a company that has the largest user population and should have great experience design, is not an exception. Adding friends to Facebook events sucks.

The average number of friends per Facebook user is around 130, so making a selection of who to invite to an event should mirror the average items a user must parse in a list at any given time.

Obviously, the amount of friends varies from person to person, so if the average is 130 there are those who are well above that. Like myself, who is friends with pretty much everyone I’ve ever known, down to elementary school has roughly 250.

I only maintain about 20 close friendships today and have the need for potentially creating an event for up to 100 (including my web design friends and acquaintances).

Force f-ing users into selecting roughly 10 – 20 names from a 3 column list of 130 people listed alphabetically by first name from left to right, row by row… in a 500 pixel by 500 pixel dialog box is not what I call a fun time.

Problem #1: It’s in a dialog box

I don’t have a problem with complex interactions within a dialog box, if the users expectations of managing their task and the content dictates that is the correct solution. That said, I have built many enterprise applications that deal with complex data and interactions, and that usually is never the case how to solve the design problem.

Dialogs usually, from my experience, have been the most useful and unobtrusive when the amount of interaction that is required by users, is kept to a minimum.

Problem #2: Sorted by first name, no select all

Maybe Facebook has a bunch of research and data to back this decision up, at least I hope so, but the most conventional way to organize people in a list is last name first. At least in my use case, I sometimes like to invite multiple people with the same last name to the same event. Whether it’s a married couple or family, sorted by first name and no other way to sort, makes this particular task incredibly difficult.

Yes, you can group your friends and view all friends from a particular group within this dialog. But, if that is their intended user path to find a group of friends quickly, let me select all within a smaller group.

Problem #3: No context of who I invited

The only way to know which friends who have been invited to an event is the state of the checkbox. Check for invited, unchecked for not. However, the same problem with initially scanning people applies to this as well. Which leads to my next problem.

Problem #4: I forgot my friend

Easily scanning a list of invited versus available, and potentially separating them out, is another way to think about reducing user error. If I can see who is invited very quickly, I can easily see when I miss someone.

Again, something this particular UI does not allow. It never fails that I’ll be hanging with my buddies one weekend talking about the great time we had grilling at my house when another friends chimes in, “Wha… When did you guys do that?”

Sorry, this is one of those “You really know what grinds my gears…” kind of post. Thank you for listening to my complaining.