Forgive the lousy green text, will work on that next week so easier to read. In the meantime, this is important to anyone who had heard about the custom designs for Facebook. We are trying to reach someone at www.fbexpressions.com for answers, and get the canned email for help. This is a repost from one of our designers, Andrew Kirksey.

I’ve spent some time today trying to work with Facebook Expressions beyond the ‘waiting to hear back from them on whether or not my design was approved’.

The site gives no clear time frame in which they’ll get back to designers, which complicates this business wise for us, and automatically strikes this service from ever being something we can rush into deployment for clients. It’s been 4 days since I first submitted and still no word. Perhaps I did something wrong so I tried to resubmit today.

Since that was kind of something I couldn’t worry about right now, I’d try and determine how difficult it was for a casual user to actually customize their profile page through this service and ran into several stiff, brick walls.

The first issue I’ve is that it seems like elements are broken into 3 pieces that are assigned one at a time to different, vaguely defined areas (‘top’, ‘bottom’ ‘side’ around your facebook page, and then added to the facebook profile. If only this process and their website’s architecture was at all intuitive.

Secondly, there doesn’t seem to be any grouping of these styles into ‘themes’ that work well together. I ended up putting together a hob knob of 3 different designs in about 10 minutes. I feel like that alone takes too much time, but it might not necessarily reflect the difficulty of adding a custom theme to a page that we’ve submitted. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing at this point, but I suspect it could be just as difficult, judging by how disorganized their page is from the get go.

This would mean we’d have to configure everyone’s facebook profile who decided to purchase, not a huge deal, I can see some clients though being weird about us accessing their pages.

Third, while they offer full page ‘myspace style’ layout changes, it doesn’t look like designers can submit for this feature yet. I’ve sent the guy an email about it, but I got a stock ‘here’s our FAQ’ email back, none of the FAQ answers addressed this. I’m planning on internet-stalking down his private email for the purpose of getting an answer to this issue in a timely fashion. It might make sense to do this in terms of:

‘well Cory, let’s partner with you so we can work together and make this service more prominent across the facebook network’ by doing so we could take some of the sting off of issue #4.

The final issue, and I’ve saved the best for last because this is probably the deal breaker, requires that in order to even see the layout at all you have to install a plug-in called YonToo and then another called PageRange that goes in and detects the information by the fbexpressions app before anything will render at all. For the purposes of furthering a client’s brand and identity, it doesn’t make sense for people who are finding them for the first time, to install a plug-in (or two) to see branding for a company they know little about just to see how pretty their page looks.

I don’t want to completely poo poo this idea, because it’s awesome, it’s just there seems to be a lack of clear instruction by the service providers and by the plug-in developers. We could make a site for this, with all the tools necessary compiled, something clients can refer their clients to or something.

Andrew

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