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Facebook redesign – So what’s new?

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
22 July 2008

As you’ll doubtless know by now, Facebook are in the process of rolling out their new site design to the masses at the moment, and as you’d expect it’s being covered widely in the press. But I thought I’d do my own little missive anyway, looking at what has and hasn’t changed in more detail.

NOTE: If you don’t see the new layout automatically, either click here, or login as usual and then add the word "new" in to the address – i.e. "www.new.facebook.com"

Homepage / News Feed layout

Fboldfeed_2 Fbnewfeed 

The first thing you notice when looking at this page is the size of it – previously Facebook was optimised for the old web standard of 800×600, but the new page is much wider, taking up most of a 1024×768 window. It still doesn’t resize well, though with applications like Facebook for Mobile and stylesheets being used well, that shouldn’t really matter these days.

The next big change is the removal of the left hand navigation, meaning the central column can take up a lot more space. All of the items that were in the left nav have quite seamlessly been swapped over to the right hand one, which in turn is a bit wider.

Other changes that we’ve spotted on this page include:

  • Some nifty shortcuts along the top of the page, allowing you to do things like update your status, write a note, share a link or upload a photo more quickly.
  • A second, more subtle "logout" link in the bottom right corner, only viewable once you scroll down the page, accompanied by a more obvious one at the top of your feed.
  • A few features have been renamed – the link to your profile is now your name instead, which kinda makes sense I guess.
  • The much-vaulted "Feedback" link – added by Facebook to enable users to give the developers feedback on their new design layouts.

Your / Other People’s Profile

Fboldprofiel_2 Fbnewprofiel

As with the rest of the site, profile pages are now wider and can this fit more on them. But it’s on these pages that the big changes have really taken place. Rather than waffle, let’s get down to business and see what is what in the new profile layout:

  • Rather than an all encompassing ‘edit’ link at the top, you now have the ability to change each (editable) profile box from directly within the profile, using the little pencil icon.
  • Your status box is a lot bigger – another sign that Facebook are keen to win over Twitter lovers.
  • Like the feed page, the ‘quick links’ sit along the top, encouraging users to participate more with notes, photos etc.
  • These quick links are usable from within the profile page, as opposed to taking you off to a new page – more ajax wizardry I assume?
  • The social ads have moved from left to right and are much more visible.
  • The wall is now the dominating feature of the page, occupying the first and default of the new ‘tabs’ along the top. It’s also merged together with the old "mini-feed" – so stories, comments, posts and wall stories all appear next to one another.
  • The other ‘tabs’ to be added along the top are: info (all the old information boxes – school, work etc); photos (self explanatory) and Boxes (a repository for all the old application boxes which used to clutter up your main profile).
  • Almost everything can be commented on by other people – status updates, photos, posts – everything!
  • You can now give a select few applications their own tab along the top – it looks like there is a limit of three for space reasons, so choose wisely.
  • Applications that you deem fit to have their own tab will then show up inside your profile proper – as opposed to taking you off to a separate page.
  • The photos tab has a new PC-dependent feature – ‘Take a Photo’ allows you to take a photo using any camera attached to your device, if you have one.

Other pages have small changes too, such as the Friends list swapping navigations around, but the above makes up the bulk of the biggest changes I can find. It’ll be interesting to see how users react to this new design – based purely on people’s status updates I can see it’s a mixed reception so far. One thing it DOES mean though is that Facebook have a lot more opportunity to show their targeted ads to users, including whilst users interact with application. Could this be the money-spinner which Facebook needs to match up to it’s recent $15 billion valuation? Only time will tell…

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