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Facebook’s Facelift (and Changes for Groups)

Facebook IconAs we’ve heard before, Facebook is gearing up for yet another redesign. As we saw in leaked screenshots two weeks ago, Facebook is going to start sorting news feeds by Recent Activity and Top News stories (the ones with the most comments or likes). That change is supposed to also reduce load time, and relegates the Publisher box to an “Update Status” button.

So the new news in the latest leaks: Mashable has a four-page PDF from Facebook to its advertisers that outlines the changes they’ve made, and why. In addition to the aforementioned changes to the news feed, they’re adding back a lot of the friend activity information that was filtered out after the last redesign.

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Facebook redesigns are notoriously unpopular. Of course, most people resist change, and it’s tough to please hundreds of millions of people.

Other important changes come from the Engagement ads and fan pages. As the PDF for advertisers explains, Facebook is working to help its advertisers receive good placement, so they’re adding fanning, RSVPs for events and virtual gifts to the news feed. (I know, just what you were waiting for.)

This will move these events out of the right-hand column, which would also make ads placed there more prominent.

FB says that their new pages will increase fan signups:

The opportunity to acquire Fans increases with this new home page design. This is due to several reasons including the migration of Fan stories into the center stream, and the increase in “Suggestions” from one to two connections.

They’re also premiering new layouts for Groups (and this one has already rolled out). In a blog post Monday, Facebook said that they’re revamping Groups pages to make them more like profiles and fan pages, and to surface more info to make it easier for members to keep up with group activities. You can also sort your news feed to show only stories from your groups (which isn’t a new feature, I believe, just a reminder).

In all, this “redesign” is more of a tweak to the last one. While no change will ever be well-received 100% by a group as big as FB’s user base, the “less is more” approach will probably lead to less opposition.

What do you think? Will this redesign go over well? Will there be as much protest this time around?

  • http://www.ezwebsitemonitoring.com/ Aaron

    We’ll just have to wait and hope that this design is more accepted than all of their previous ones. They need to do something to help clean it up before it ends up like MySpace (yuck!). Any ideas when it will be put into testing?

    I think they did a better job this time of getting some research done before making a decision, so I think this redesign will go over well with users.
    .-= Aaron´s last blog ..Bing announces search for Twitter feeds =-.

  • http://www.crearecommunications.co.uk Luci

    No redesign of Facebook will ever go down well because they always make a change, or tweak, just as everybody is getting used to the old one. And well, it was never really broken in the first place, so why fix it (and i’m going back to the earlier designs).
    However, given that this is more of a slight change/tweak, rather than a change of layout and the sort of essence of how users can interact with each other on facebook, it might have less opposition. Might.
    .-= Luci´s last blog ..Bad SEO – Sock Puppet Marketing =-.

  • http://dicecarmen.blogspot.com CarmenSays

    They have returned ALL the filtered content back into the live feed, resulting in the appearance of dozens of irrelevant notifications. I may want to maintain some contact with my college acquaintance, but do I want to know every person she friends? NO!! Do I want to know every group she joins, every cause she becomes a fan of? Again, NO!! This is information overload for me, and I only have about 80 friends. It must be overwhelming for those who have more.

    Why can they not give me an option to filter that extraneous info from my feed? Incredibly annoying!
    .-= CarmenSays´s last blog ..If I can’t find a mistress on fetlife, where can I? =-.

  • flipperoff

    I think facebook is missing the basic reality that all friends are not equal. Everyone has friends of all different varieties from family to golf buddies to local hot spot business “friends”. The design reflects all friends are of same importance and how we want to communicate to all is the same. Some have 20 friends, some have 2000 friends. It is IMPOSSIBLE for their program logic to predict the importance of “news” of such a diverse list of friends which IMO renders the primary news feed completely useless for many users. The decision to add actions like friend added friend (who is likely a complete stranger) to the live news feed, renders it cluttered with more time wasted scrolling through worthless items. I have a local pub as a friend that is adding 30+ friends a day spamming my live feed. My choice is to be annoyed by it or HIDE that “Friend”. Once you start hiding friends to clean up your HOME page, it defeats the initiative to increase users engaging and reconnecting. They dont know the relationships of our friends and asking us to reconnect to those we may see in person daily and just dont interact much with on facebook. The friend suggestion area never rotates so if you dont X the suggestions out, you stare forever at the same 2 strangers they are suggesting you make friends with?? They would be better off giving more control of friend GROUPS so you can put each friend in a GROUP subset and then control what activity from that group will go to your news feed. This would prevent acting on the only other option to completely HIDE a friend and still allow some posting to come through and keep you still connected.