Facebook is playing a different design game than the rest of Silicon Valley. Instead of obsessing about making tasks like posting a photo easier or making the interface more beautiful, Facebook is getting its product out of the way. The goal, explains Cox, is to “make the experience of using Facebook as seamless and easy as talking to people in real life.” That sounds like the absence of design, but the simplicity of the look and the reach of the service has attracted top designers, including Rasmus Andersson from Spotify and Mike Matas, who worked on the original iPhone at Apple. Remembering his first meeting with Zuckerberg, Felton says, “The more we talked, the more we realized that our desires for [Daytum’s] product were really aligned with what Facebook wanted to do, and we had the opportunity to do it on the biggest playing field in the planet.” In the past three years, Facebook’s design team has grown from 20 people to 90.
“The biggest thing that’s different is that Facebook is not about human-computer interaction,” says Cox. Most designers in the computer industry have focused on helping humans interact with machines. But Facebook is about human-to-human interaction. “We don’t want people to remember their interactions with Facebook,” says director of design Kate Aronowitz. “We want them to remember their interactions with their friends and family.” Cox calls this “social design.” “It’s more like designing a plaza or a restaurant,” he explains. “The best building is one where the people inside get it and work together and are connected. That connectivity is created by how everything is arranged.”
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