Why is the user experience for adding Facebook apps so poor?

Posted: January 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: posts | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

A friend linked me to a random promotions app on Facebook the other day and it stopped me in my tracks for a moment.  Unlike most apps I’ve seen, the first screen was something very interesting – it was actually inside the application itself and was not the not the lovely “Allow Access” screen that Facebook users are accustomed to.

This made me wonder – pretty much most of the biggest Facebook apps I can think of ask for permission before letting you do anything.  I understand why Facebook is protecting profile information, but as a developer, you can configure your initial app screen so as not to require permission to access content.  The promotions app did this and we”ve set it up for our application.

So, the question is – why are so many huge Facebook app developers happy with the poor user experience of having the “Allow Access” screen being the first thing that users encounter with their application?  Why not show a screen that gives you a better idea of what the app is and then if the users actually wants to use the app, then they would request access.  Is this simply a ploy for the publishers to get more “active users” and thus boost themselves in the AppData standings?  Or are Facebook users quickly becoming numb to releasing their private information and the age of privacy is really over, as Facebook’s Zuckerberg recently claimed?

FYI – for Rails developers using Facebook, it’s pretty easy to not require the Allow Access screen on your welcome controller or whatever serves as your landing screen.  Just skip the Facebooker ensure_app_installed before_filter and don’t make calls that try to access the user’s information:

skip_before_filter :ensure_app_installed