Analyzing Facebook’s Forthcoming Redesign

66 thoughts on “Analyzing Facebook’s Forthcoming Redesign”

  1. As usual, I love the new Facebook redesign. Of course there will be a backlash, however that’s to be expected.

    My biggest problem is how far down events and Birthdays still are. I would argue that they are more important to users than “Suggestions” or the sponsored links, however the former are more important to Facebooks’ bottom line.

    The bookmarks are a great addition, and I am guessing I am going to like having notifications on the top left.

    Cutting down on the length of the chat bar is a much needed improvement- having it stretch across the entire page used to break Ctrl+F searching (since the chat bar always covered up the found terms).

    Overall, I’m looking forward to the new design- I can’t find anything about it that I wouldn’t consider an improvement.

  2. Some solid advances and no apparent missteps.

    I’m especially liking the creation of bookmarks, as it will hopefully be a short-term fix to the on-going problem of “lost” pages. Various areas of the site seem completely inaccessible except by chance — like the Room of Requirements, only more fickle and with a sadistic streak. Now, when I actually stumble across the EVENTS creation page, I can bookmark it!

    I’m saddened, though, by the persistence of the NEWS FEED/LIVE FEED dichotomy. It’s completely lost on me, and many other people. I simply don’t see a difference between the two. And worse, the two feeds STILL don’t cover all the updates available to me. Now, the only time I feel confident that I’ve actually seen all my updates is by surfing my wall on the (maddeningly frustrating) iPhone app.

    Facebook: the Site I Hate to Love

  3. I am in total agreement with Silus on the News Feed/Live Feed problem. No matter hot many times I set my default to Live Feed (because I am in fact one of those people who like to see everything from those who I don’t “hide”), it changes back -almost daily now.

    News Feed always features stupid Mafia Wars/Farmville alerts but rarely captures my friends commenting on their bad day or posting cool links. Or it has posts 12 hours old that I’ve already seen!

    Basically, Facebook should allow us to granularly select the types of posts we want in our feed (links, updates, videos, who is friends with who etc etc), and whose posts are seen on our feed. It shouldn’t be Facebook’s job to determine what we should and shouldn’t see.

    Like Silus, I use the iPhone app to make sure I don’t miss things.

    The rest of the changes are basically meaningless to me. I did like the status alerts in the lower right corner before though.

  4. Totally agree with the comment on live/news feed; FB needs to release the magical algorithm that determines which content is “interesting” as per their description. “News Feed aggregates the most interesting content that your friends are posting, while Live Feed shows you all the actions your friends are making in real-time.” Clearly this feature has merit when you have hundreds of friends (many hundreds, even thousands).

    I also wish they made the security (who sees what post/info/etc) a bit easier. Now that I’ve gone the trouble of categorizing all 300+ friends to multiple lists (I made up these categories – Work, Work+, close friends, family, workout friends) I wish they had a list for “news feed” so that I could have more control of what could be a useful feature.

  5. I wonder which privacy features they will remove this time, under the stealth cover of a redesign? Also, the News Feed is still there. The design itself is okay, cleaning up some functions a bit and making the search bar more prominent.

    1. Ditto. I know FB didn’t care a whit about user feedback. So I removed, for now, all Personally Identifiable Information. Making myself a very boring FB person indeed. If FB removes yet more granular control over privacy, I wonder what good it’ll be to retain FB membership. I know FB is partially about linking up with “friends” but it’s also about becoming “fans” of news sources and participating in “apps” and DETAILED control over the very specific items to which these “friends” (and other unfriended searchers and the world of the unfriended web) have access.

      1. I want the ability to hide my friends from other people seeing them. I don’t mind them seeing mutual friends, but they don’t need to know how many I have and who I am connected to.

  6. It still has the inscrutable twin feeds. Is there no news in the Live Feed? Is the News Feed less live? Why is the “update” button for both feeds called “News Feed?”

    1. Yea, the three icons to the left of the search bar do represent notifications. the first one is Friend Requests. Then second is Mail. The third are your normal notifications that used to be in the bottom right. I have the redesign already as it seems that I am a “test dummy”. Thus far I am loving it. Just wish that you still got notifications for status comments for your status’s and others that you have commented on.

  7. I love it. Redesign – intelligent IA is one of the most important factors in the longevity of a social network, and I’m glad Facebook continues to move in that direction, ignoring all the constant criticism.

    I’m also loving LinkedIn’s redesign – also necessary and way overdue.

  8. The challenge with repeatedly redesigning the site is there is usually a lot of frustration with learning to re-navigate the site.

    It’s surprising that Facebook doesn’t allow for people to opt-in to an upgraded version to avoid the backlash of the frustrated masses.

    I also agree with the other posts regarding the confusion over the Live Feed/News Feed feature. And I also agree that ensuring the “birthdays” feature is best kept prominent as well.

    Hopefully the redesign will be intuitive and not bury some of the useful applications devoted followers know and love.

    Leslie Hughes
    http://www.punchmedia.ca

  9. When are they not creating a new redesign. It’s ridiculous how often they redesign. Whatever usability benefit comes with each redesign is defeated by having to learn a new ui all over again. It’s pretty stupid.

  10. Om,

    The screenshot a lot of folks are looking for is a simple sharing settings area that is pervasive across all elements of the service — period.

    Security Elements Everywhere (SEE)

    [a] “Public” (Anyone on the Interwebs)
    [b] Facebook (Anyone on Facebook)
    [c] Friends Only (Anyone I added as a friend)
    [d] FoF (Anyone my Friends add as Friends)
    [e] Private (only I can see this)

    Note for any FB vanity search wonks reaching this comment: feel free to steal “SEE” backronym

    Pictorially showing the exposure counts for information would be worthwhile — i.e. your information will be shown to (a) The Internet! (b) 450M users (c) 4609 people through your friends (d) 230 of your friends (d) just you

    Unfortunately, this SEE design runs counter to the implied goals of the FB product management to opt-out sharing. Ramming opt-out on a base of FB accounts is the latest reason I (and others) question FB motives.

    Also, in the wake of the recent FB privacy change [1], no pushing of the live feed to the left/right/top/bottom changes the damage inflicted to any perceived trust of the FB platform. FB as a place for friends is a far away reach. Regression testing must be really, uh, hard. As a result, FB reserves the right to just dump everything about you into a search engine somewhere as part of “progress” or so-called iterative design improvements.

    [1] no major epiphany here because the privacy policy is basically the fine print with most of what gets tossed out with every credit card terms of service or privacy notification for other service you might sign up for these days — where everything about you is up for sale

    1. Jay

      I guess since you follow me on Twitter, you by now know that I agree with most of your suggestions and have been worried about FB’s privacy policy. So you won’t get many arguments from me. But thanks for listing out your points.

      “Unfortunately, this SEE design runs counter to the implied goals of the FB product management to opt-out sharing. Ramming opt-out on a base of FB accounts is the latest reason I (and others) question FB motives”::: I would like to wait and see what FB actually launches and then comment on it.

      “Pictorially showing the exposure counts for information would be worthwhile — i.e. your information will be shown to (a) The Internet! (b) 450M users (c) 4609 people through your friends (d) 230 of your friends (d) just you” That is a great suggestion.

      1. “I would like to wait and see what FB actually launches and then comment on it.”

        nods

        I understand. I just have higher expectations now knowing the FB team has been receptive to feedback (controversial) in the past.

        My outside attempt to look find a clear developer roadmap for permissions granularity found self referential links to the FB blog posts. Circuitous routes indeed. I’m sure they see implications I cannot fathom as an outsider.

        As such, I don’t want to paint FB team with too wide of a brush — my critique of FB notifications as the sole mechanism for email use notwithstanding.

  11. It’s misleading to say “notifications are gone” even if you only mean from the bottom right. YOu didn’t discuss the three icons between the logo and search bar that handle notifications. Perhaps you haven’t seen those screenshots?

  12. It looks better.

    I do have to complain about moving the notifications – I thought it made sense keeping that next to the chat widget, since chat and notifications are two things I monitor most frequently. I guess search and notifications are conceptually more similar and I do use search often to jump to people’s page, so I’ll probably get used to it.

    On a similar note, it’s still senseless how a lot of core functionality – events, chat, inbox, notifications and search – is scattered all over the screen. It’s almost funny to think that Facebook’s clean design/navigations were key differentiators over Myspace a few years ago. Compared to the efficient screen organization of the best Twitter clients (Twitter.com included), Facebook is now the kludgey/poorly organized social network.

    1. I agree that I’ve always been confused that the three things I care about first when I log in – notifications, requests, inbox, and chat – are all in different places. I wish Facebook would give me a two-paned “dashboard” of sorts that shows my friends’ activity (live feed) in one pane and my incoming “stuff” (notifications, requests, chat, and inbox) in the other. I don’t see a ton of difference between requests and notifications anyway, so I’m not sure why they’re separated to begin with.

  13. yea i also thot notifications was “gone”. It went on the top though. It should have been where it was because we are used to seeing notifications in bottom right corner – be it IMs, new mail, etc. That’s where our eyes go!

    1. Wow that is cool! What is that? Something you can download (like you could change your appearance on MySpace) or someone just tooling around making a mock FB page with a ton of cool enhancements (perhaps as a suggestion to the designers)?

      1. That is not what the new facebook looks like. Look at the screenshots at the top of this page. I have the new facebook and that is not it. Facebook is using me as a “test dummy” for the new look.

  14. looks a lot better, although my initial thoughts are that people will once again be very annoyed with yet another FB redesign.
    I did like FB lite although I felt like there wasnt quite enough information on screen and that it was a little too lite. I think the proof will be in the pudding. Metaphorical pudding of course. FB pudding would taste skanky.

  15. Users of service providers such as FB (and GOOG, YHOO, AAPL, MSFT, and their ilk) have shown much “righteous indignation” toward these service providers at times, for various reasons.

    However, these service providers have shown a history of ignoring righteous indignation.

    And users act in ways that belie their righteous indignation: they support the service providers in $clicks$ when not in words.

    So the service providers may easily yawn.

  16. Hmmm….
    * Looks like more space for ads. Maybe inevitable, but awful.
    * Notifications is a KEY features. I understand that putting it at the top of the page is “promoting” it – but you’ll now scroll away from it. When it was at the bottom it was sticky so you could use it as a primary form of navigation.
    * As many people have pointed out, filtering the content coming at you is too tough. Personally, I believe this to be a holy-grail, really, really hard type of problem and whatever company really figures it out will have a huge leg up. (It ties into alerts and a lot of other things…). I don’t think FB has even scratched the surface on this topic.

  17. I happen to be one of the guinea pigs picked at random to use the new interface. Two things about it have really messed up the functionality for me:

    1. There are no application filters. I play several FB games, like Castle Age. If I need to fill my Elite Guard, I can’t just filter all the Castle Age notifications to see who has called for EG. Since I have close to 1000 friends, the feed shows less than 1/2 hour of notifications without a filter. It’s really annoying to have to scroll through 30 screens to see who has called for help in the last 3 hours. With the old layout, I could filter all requests by application.

    2. The bookmarks only appear on the home page. Again, since I play several FB games, I can no longer go from one app to the other. I have to go back to the home page to get to my bookmarks. This seems like a huge step backwards.

    There are other annoyances — the first icon next to the FB logo is for friend requests, but you can’t assign a group by accepting through that icon; you have to go to the confirm requests page. The second icon is messages received, but you can’t read them from that icon; you have to go to the inbox. But those things I can live with.

    1. Oh i don’t like the lack of filters at all! I do have a question for you though (on the current version of FB) since you seem to be the type that would know this. I take it since you have so many friends (many of whom you may not know personally, but have as friends for your game apps ie mafia wars, farmville, etc.) you probably don’t want to see all of their status updates along with all the other useless info (so and so became friends with someone you don’t even know)…so my question is, can you hide these people on your live feed, but still have them show on your application filter? Or somehow set it up to where the only info you see of that person is their posts associated with that app?? I’m dying to know this!

  18. doesn’t look a whole lot different, just better organized. I know a few FB users who are not techies and may initially have a problem with this, but they’ll figure it out.

  19. I’m not a huge FB user but my 2 cents are these: Notifications are a must for me. That is where I start each FB log on. It lets me know if a conversation has been started or continued. Without it I would have to read every last post to find out if someone commented on something I commented on. Also I’m jumping on the Live Feed/News Feed bandwagon. Hate it. There is too much ambiguity between Posts and Updates and on which list they belong. Shouldn’t there be a way to just filter out what users post and what FB posts. That seems simple enough.

  20. Interesting that the second layout shown above (the view of Mark Zucker’s fb page) does not show his friends list. In the most recent retooling of facebook privacy limitations (Dec 2009), the ability to hide one’s list of friends from other friends is not available. Maybe this indicates that facebook are planning to give users this level of control again?

  21. I second Lisa’s comment (12/29) – I have been switched over the the new design and the most annoying part is that they’re removed the bookmarks bar at the bottom. I play several FB games and now I have to navigate back to the home page every time I want to get to my bookmarks. 2) The little icons at the time are meaningless to me. 3) Why remove the ability to log out? That doesn’t make any sense. I’ve been trying to be open minded but mostly I’m just finding the new user experience really annoying.

  22. They must put something to change it maybe i dont like the new and i dont like it …
    its make me refresh many time and sometimes i close the internet and reopen it again and again

  23. My facebook layout was changed to this “new” design back in late December.

    It took a little getting used to looking at the top to see my notifications but I like how it seperates them by type (wall post, messages, updates, etc.). The applications on the side are nice beacuse you do not have to scroll all the way down to find them.

    But my main problem is that they hide the log out button. I am not always using my own computer so that was an slight frustration.

    I do not remember it being in the old layout, but there is a second search window for doing a search for a word within your friends posts.

    All in all, it is a good change.

    1. You can log out by clicking account in the top right corner. It is a drop down menu and has all the options for your account right there. I also have the new design and I am actually quite pleased with it.

  24. I have had the new design fOISTED upon me for the last several weeks, and I HATE it. I had no idea for ages what was wrong with my page… when my friend logged in on my computer, her news/live feed page appeared normal, where mine was (IS!) a tweeky mess. I have wasted HOURS of my time trying to sort out the mystery, and all because FB is using me without my consent as a guinea-pig! I do not like the new layout at all, it detracts from, rather than enhances, my experience.

  25. I was apparently selected as a guinea pig for this redesign back in December as well. I was slightly confused as to why no one else I knew had it–I figured they were just rolling out the design little by little, and I was on the early end. But now I know it was a test version. I absolutely love the redesign, it is 100x more user-friendly and visually appealing.

    I only have one complaint. It’s gone! My home page is back to normal, since apparently my trial period with the redesign has ended. I CANNOT STAND the old layout anymore. I can’t find things in the brilliant places where the new design had put them, and it’s just plain ugly. Was I spoiled for a short season, or can I expect to get this back soon???

  26. When do we get our Farmville gift and other requests back? This has been going on for almost 2 weeks. People keep telling me they are sending me gifts and other request but I am not getting them and can not find them anywhere on my page.

  27. This new layout has been forced on me by the FB team. I woke up this morning and my page layout was changed. I am not at all happy that I can’t change it back; I did not volunteer to have my page used in this unnecessary test. I absolutely HATE the new layout. There is no direct way to log out, my Favorites bar disappeared, and it is absolutely NOT “streamlined.” I need to click at least 1 other link to get to something that otherwise would have been right in front of me (the aforementioned lack of a log out button, for example). There was nothing wrong with the previous layout. People have been complaining ON FACEBOOK about this new layout, and I’m hoping they listen. Many people already don’t believe that the FB team cares about what they want; and if they force this unnecessary change on us, I’m sure others will see it, too.

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