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Bad Usability: Removing Yourself from Facebook Pictures (updated)

Facebook has been changing so many things in the past few months. First, the new news feed. Top stories? Do I care? Second, the music app. Is it cool? Yes, I like to see to what my friends are listening to. And lastly, the new Timeline. Cool? Very, I think. It’s all the information you already had (no Facebook isn’t displaying new stuff about you, other than who you unfriend) in a new format. I like it overall.

Even with all these changes, which are supposed to make your life easier, is it actually doing that? The overwhelming answer I get from people I am around most is “No.” I, particularly, got angry when I had to go through the daunting task of removing myself from pictures my friends had tagged me in. Even though I am of age, 22, and participating in a Purdue tradition, I felt I may need to remove some of the Facebook pictures from our “breakfast club” experiences this year.

It may come as no surprise, but Facebook, yet again, changed the process of removing yourself from pictures (and removing them from your timeline for that matter). I am going to go through the process and point out the areas of concern, from my point of view.

  1. Click on the photo you want to remove yourself from. You will get something like the screen you see below. Now where is the “remove tag” link that used to be right next to your name? It disappeared. Now you have to go through a process for every picture you want to remove yourself from.
  2. Now that we know the old feature is not there anymore, where do we look next? For me, I went right across to where it says “On your timeline – Remove.” I clicked that, and went through all the dialogues, which ask you, “Are you sure?” Of course I’m sure, why would I be doing this if I wasn’t. After completing this, much to my surprise the photo was still apart of my pictures; I was still tagged. WTF?? Where to look now?
  3. Facebook seemed to have moved the “Remove Tag” option and combined it with the “Report” link. Why? I have no clue. It is not readily apparent when looking, and actually kind of hidden in a way. So then you click on that link and it takes you through the dialogue boxes, which I put images of below.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

So that’s the new way to remove yourself from pictures on Facebook. Why they hide everything and change everything, who knows? I have a feeling they want you to keep your information up as long as possible.

Why is it Bad? (updated)

Aside from the fact it takes 3x longer to remove yourself and there is no batch removal feature, this design seems to disregard Gestalt’s principle of Similarity. Well this is what I orginially thought, but my professor pointed out (in a comment below) the problem is not Similarity, it’s the information scent. In this example, two options, which in my eyes are totally different, are combined. When I look for “remove tag,” and saw “Report,” I immediately stopped reading because I don’t think report and remove tag do the same sort of thing.

This just really pissed me off so I decided to write about it. Hopefully you all find it at least a little bit interesting.


I am a life-long learner, adventure seeker, and front-end developer for @ExactTarget