design / industry news

Facebook's guide to viral marketing needs some design help

You’d think a company valued at $15 BILLION could afford to hire someone to design a document for them. But you’d be wrong. Facebook just released “The Insider’s Guide to Viral Marketing” as a PDF document (see the document at TechCrunch). I haven’t looked at the content yet, but the design stinks.

The cover is a plain page with a headline at the top. No effort whatsoever into making the first page appealing. I suppose people will just see the word “Viral Marketing” and want to read this tome.

And, there are no screenshots. If you’re going to talk about applications and specific pages on your web site, it’s helpful to have screenshots of what those pages look like. Not everyone likes to read page after page of instruction text.

Beyond that, the font is Times New Roman (for headlines and body text – exceedingly mundane) and the formatting reeks of “hurry up and get it out the door.” (the info screen for the PDF says it was produced in Microsoft Word – a sure sign of design quality /snark).

As a for instance, take this page:

facebook page

Notice the topic subhead “Events.” It’s at the bottom of the page, all by itself. Where’s the information? It’s on the next page, of course. Why not put the subhead with the information?

And since this is a PDF, you’d think they could make the URL hyperlinks actually work, but they didn’t even bother with that.

I’m sure someone will tell me it’s a “white paper,” which must mean that it has to be ugly. Sorry, I don’t buy it. Spend a couple of bucks for a decent page designer to make your documents look like you actually thought about the people you’re inflicting them on.