🪴 Joe Whitsitt


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A case against social media timeline widgets

Last updated Dec 7, 2019 Edit Source

We get it all the time at my work. “Can I put my Facebook timeline on my website?”

Absolutely not. Here is why.

# They are generally inaccessible

At work, we strive maintain websites that are WCAG 2.0 compliant. Most of these timeline widgets lack the neccessary accomodations to make them accessible to all.

# They don’t blend in with your website’s look and feel

They are usually difficult to design around and stick out like a sore thumb unless your site uses the same color scheme.

# All it takes is one bad post to steal the spotlight

If you timeline is not always 100% on brand, all it takes is one off-message post or retweet to misdirect visitors who take notice. Not all posts are timeless and age well.

# They track you (and are often blocked)

Social media companies look for ways to get to know you better and these widgets are indirectly another tool they use to do so. They are so good at tracking that browsers, extensions and laws are being created to block them from doing so. This leaves a big blank space on your website for a decent number of your visitors, often your homepage where page real estate is important in capturing your targeted audience.

# Providers change them all the time

Social media providers change their widgets all of the time which may require updates on your end. Finding, fixing and continuing to maintain these instances can be taxing if used in multiple places.

# Visitors skim right over them

Visitors don’t come to your website for social media content. There have been some usability studies that suggest website visitors don’t care to scroll through external content and that if they are interested in a website’s social media presence, they connect through outbound links on the website or directly through their platform of choice.

With all of that said, I do see benefits of some social media content within a website.

Made by Joe Whitsitt using Quartz, © 2023

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