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How to design the social media network of the future is as easy as 1-2-3

Facebook has a readily recognizable design footprint in the web world.
Facebook has a readily recognizable design footprint in the web world.
Screen shot

Today with social media sights grabbing for top billing what is it that makes a site chosen by the masses? Why do the designers make things look just so?

When Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, came up with the idea of a social media site do you think he pondered using the school colors from his prior alma mater? Well, no he did not (the school colors of the 2004 Harvard dropout are crimson, black and white - btw).

It would be hard to imagine the now infamous white background with shades of blue bands atop each page in any other scheme but that one.

When the color scheme for Facebook was being brainstormed pantone color chips were not in the forefront of the founder's mind. Zuckerberg's decision was based on an online color test in which he discovered that he was red-green color-blind. The reason blue was selected, Zuckerberg says, was because "blue is the richest color for me – I can see all of blue". Interestingly enough blue ranks dominant among the top 100 sites in the world (red is second). So, if you are looking to create the next great social networking site (if you dare to compete) make your site blue and you should be… well… golden!

Design and navigation are of equal importance too. The design of the site and its ability to navigate effectively can make a task painless or unbelievably bleak. Facebook is essentially a flat, shaded, square box using web 2.0 but it's the software that makes it shine. The use of reverse chronology for posts and the ability for people to share and add friends with convenient one-button clicking make a world of difference. Unlike other blog sites, Facebook allows users to keep online diaries that are instantly shareable with other friends and members.

Making it look simple is a very complex process. If you want to build a great site it begins with tech savvy people who have a background in things like wayfinding and online site navigation.
The bottom line is that, although web sites are usually based on a two-dimensional plane (at least for the moment), there is an ability to view something that appears simple and clean but contains many layers and routes that the user does not have to worry about.

The last important thing is readability with text and an iconic logo. I had never heard of the font Klavika until writing this article but I had definitely seen it before. Klavika is the bold white lowercase "f" that is usually found seated upon a square of # 3b5998 (web blue). It is also this past decade's most popular typeface seen on digital media such as NBC, ABC, ESPN, Comcast, General Motors and more.

This font has become synonymous because of its readability and simplistic design. So, when you aim to choose your company font or logo make sure it reads from far away, make sure the font has a high contrast to the other elements and make sure you have the money to purchase it ($299 for 8 font faces for Klavika at FontShop.

If you want to find out more, you guessed it, there is a facebook page for that. Many of the designers who work at and with Facebook can be viewed on the Facebook design page.

(look for more related articles next week)


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