Come on, you know you have those Facebook friends whose profile pages look like their MySpace exploded: their profile takes forever to load, their page is six “page downs” long (well, longer, but you’ve never actually made it to the bottom) and they never met an app they didn’t like. Well, Facebook is trying to do something about that.
Facebook has announced that they’ll be redesigning the layout and functionality of their profile pages. The new profile pages, to be unveiled in the coming weeks, will feature information divided into tabs for Feed, Info, Photos and Applications:
Facebook has more previews of the new design as well as a photo album of a Power Point about the new design.
The tabs’ functions are:
- Feed: Recent activities (ie the present Mini-Feed), Wall posts from your friends (though in current screenshots, the Wall has its own tab, too), and the new ‘Publisher box’ to allow users to share “notes” (blog posts), video and other content.
- Info: Basic profile info: work, education, etc.
- Photos: Photos of you (integrating photos that you’ve tagged of yourself as well as photos others have tagged of you), your photo albums
- Applications: Third-party apps that you’re using. These can be moved to another tab (“provided they fall within restrictions” for that tab), or you can create your own tab for an app. You can also drag and drop the app boxes the same way you can rearrange the components of the current profile page.
The left sidebar and top navigation that Facebook currently uses is slated to be moved to top-only navigation. While AllFacebook speculates that this could be used as a browser toolbar as well, I think it currently looks like site-specific, internal navigation.
The design is supposed to be more useful to users and developers. At a meeting today with Facebook, TechCrunch blogged that the goals for the new design were twofold:
- For users: Make profiles cleaner and simpler, give users more control over their profiles, and emphasize recent and relevant information
- For developers: Create more meaningful engagement with users, offer new integration points in profiles, and provide distribution for engaging applications
To that end, developers will be given first access to the new profile pages, to enable them to update their apps appropriately.
While the new functionality and organization is cool—and it’ll be nice to have a slightly more standardized way of looking at profiles—somehow, I’m not sure this will go over well. I mean, they’ve been so open-minded about embracing positive change in the past (about things like the Mini-Feed and Beacon). (Though last year’s redesign and the Facebook Platform didn’t seem too unpopular.) Perhaps the bigger question here is how this will integrate with Facebook Connect, if at all?
And, of course, as Business Week pointed out, this doesn’t push Facebook as an advertising medium. But, on the other hand, isn’t the lesson we learned with Beacon that Facebook should be about the users, first and foremost?