Rob Mason is a recent Facebook hire and college graduate from England. Prior to Facebook, his work consisted of designing third-party Facebook apps and contract assignments.
Despite his young age and minimal experience, Maison dreamt up the latest, coolest Facebook feature that has Mark Zuckerberg pumped: video chats.Fast Company spoke with him and a fellow Facebook designer who explains why Mason was tasked with creating the most-prized, new feature from scratch (for Mason’s picture, head over to Fast Company).
“Design at Facebook is a leadership role,” Soleio Cuervo, early Facebook user and designer of the “Like” button, tells Fast Company. “When we looked at Rob’s portfolio and the projects he had created on his own, we saw they were highly focused, dirt simple, and very clean. That high level of focus was something we thought was appropriate for this product.”
Once Mason was hired, he was told Facebook would be rolling out a video feature. The video chat would use Skype’s technology. Other than that, Mason was on his own to make it come to life.
Within a month, the youngster had his first meeting with Zuckerberg and VP of product Chris Cox to go over the initial prototype. Mason stuck with a minimalist approach. There would be no clutter in his creation.
Most people don’t use video chats because the process is complex. Mason says he didn’t want software issues or complexity to inhibit the Facebook video chat experience, so he aimed to make his prototype as simple as possible.
The final product only has expand, close and minimize buttons. There’s no play, mute, or pause. The video chat opens just below your computer’s camera at the top centre of the monitor, so you’re looking at both yourself and the other person.
“If you want to send a message to someone in Facebook, you just click on them and type in your message,” Mason tells Fast Company. “Video calling should be the same.”
For the full profile on Rob Maison, head over to Fast Company >>