Facebook Guerilla Usability Testing: SAVE.


Shanice Stewart
Mar 21, 2016 · 5 min read
Here is a screenshot of the save video tutorial that inspired this project.

A lot of people don’t know about the convenient save post feature on Facebook. Earlier this year, my friend Marci created a video tutorial about it because she was elated when she discovered it. This feature allows users to save posts and conveniently engage with it more later. I already knew about this feature, but her amazement led me to wonder who else is blind to the button. I decided to utilize usability testing to find out:

  1. How many people know about the save post feature on Facebook?
  2. What do they think about it?
  3. How often do they use it?


To find this information out, I decided to do guerilla usability testing. I visited a local coffee shop where people young and old hang out after school/work already on their computers and most likely signed in on their social media accounts. I chose this place to get a range of testers as diverse as Facebook users.

This is the actual testing site. Thanks, Starbucks!

The Test

To keep my interaction short but insightful, I asked these three simple questions/tasks:

  1. How often do you use Facebook?
  2. How do you mark a post that you want to come back to later? For example, “Imagine you’re scrolling through your feed in a movie theater and you see a video which you can’t watch right then. How do you make a note of it?”
  3. Save a post using Facebook’s save feature.

User Feedback

  1. How often do you use Facebook? This question served as the screener. It’s a good thing that I did because I learned grade-schoolers don’t even have a Facebook account! (They prefer Instagram.) Otherwise, users frequent Facebook from twice per week to multiple times per day.
  2. How do you mark a post to come back to it later? The general consensus was to make a mental note of who shared the post and then go back to it later or to share the post with themselves. One person even went as far as to say that’s why he doesn’t have a lot of friends on the platform: to keep the amount of posts he has to keep up with at a minimum.
  3. Save a post using Facebook’s save feature. At first, no one knew how to do this. The first sentiment 75% of the time was “I don’t think you can do that.” One tester went through the flow for sharing the post with themselves. One figured it out by clicking the faint grey arrow in the top right hand corner of the post. Others stared blankly at the screen as if to say “Help.” I would then ask them to touch the same arrow. From there, they would lead themselves through to save the post.

Test Quotes:

This makes things so much easier! I’m going to tell my friends about it. You put me on to something new! — Curtis, 32, uses Facebook three times per day

I figured it out, but I consider myself pretty tech savvy. It could be a lot more transparent for sure. — Aaron, 23, uses Facebook twice per week

Key Findings

Facebook’s algorithm on the timeline makes it hard for people to simply scroll back through to find a post they’d seen previously because the news feed is no longer solely time-based. Posts shift placement on the timeline based on audience engagement. This makes the save feature that much more important to consistent users. Some less simple solutions that testers implement for finding posts they want to go back to are keeping their friends list short; memorizing (and possibly forgetting) who posted what and then going to their individual feeds to review it; and sharing it to their own feeds or inboxes.

The tester who used the share feature to share it with themselves was prompted by a pop-up on Facebook to try the save feature next time. This is great. However, only one tester tried this share method. There is no pop-up for the many who are memorizing who posted what to return to it later.

Design Suggestions

Here are two possible design solutions that come to mind when aiming to make the save feature more prevalent on the site.

One suggestion is to make the drop-down menu in the top right corner of the post bolder. That could mean darkening the existing arrow or making it look more interactive using a different icon. The point of this is to make it look a more irresistible and increase engagement with the button to see what’s in store.

Here is a bolder drop down arrow featured in the top right hand corner darkened compared to the original.

Another suggestion is to put the save feature on the same panel as the Like, Comment, and Share buttons. This was proposed by two testers. This would completely eliminate any oversight and definitely provide more engagement with the button.

I really enjoy Facebook from a user perspective, design perspective, and a brand perspective. I simply had an idea and decided to pursue it to see how many people use this neat feature and what they thought about it. I thought if more people knew about this, then it would increase engagement on Facebook even more as people would come back to their “saved” feed as a section complimentary to their news feed as well as real-life conversations.

Shanice Stewart

Written by

UX Design Immersive Student at General Assembly Atlanta

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