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Facebook gets yet another Facelift

Facebook faceliftHarold Wilson once said “He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery”. But all change is not growth, as all movement is not forward. The same applies to the no 1 social networking site Facebook which rolled out a revamped home page on Friday and has met with generally positive reactions from its millions of users.

When asked about the need for the revamped page Facebook said and I quote “Some of you may ask why we are changing the home page again. Like you, we know it can be disruptive when things are moved around, but we hope that these changes make Facebook a more valuable experience for you. We put a lot of thought into all the changes we make to the site and do a lot of testing before releasing anything.”

Changes

The ‘Highlights’ are merged into the News Feed, and there are basically two home page views to choose from– the News Feed and the Live Feed.

We’ve all experienced it – the noise that comes from 100’s of our friends updating their Facebook feeds at the same time. But that is a thing of past. With a new tool in place users can toggle between “Live Feed” and “News Feed” options.

News Feed” is where you can find the most interesting things that happened in the past day. These could be photos, status updates or other items. . Using previous interaction data, like how many times user comments on a friend’s posts or how many times a user clicks the “Like” button, the News Feed draws updates that the user is more likely to want to see and, in turn, interact with again.It is basically the same bunch of updates that appeared in the ‘highlights’ section of the old design.

Life changes every moment and Facebook does not want you to miss the latest updates. That’s where “Live Feed” comes into the picture. Live Feed is literally the live feed of all status updates from your entire network of friends on Facebook. While you are viewing the News Feed, a bubble next to the Live Feed link keeps a running count of the number of new updates in the Live Feed. As always, users can choose what shows up in each feed by editing their settings.

In short think of the “Live Feed” as an open faucet – the status updates come spilling out a billion miles-per-hour. New photos; new observations; new links.” News Feed,” on the other hand, hands the filtering duties over to Facebook, which automatically separates the wheat from the chaff. “

The removal of the Highlights section from the right panel also mean that the Events box will shift up where things like friends’ birthdays will be more visible.

The space generated as a result of integrating the “Highlights” feature from the right hand side of the page to the “News Feed” in the middle will be used to feature birthdays and events more prominently something Facebook says users had asked for.

Mixed Reviews from Users

Facebook says that it has tweaked the homepage based on the feedback of its users. But it looks like most of the users are not happy with the latest revamping. However they were not able to cite a good reason for going back to the old design. They perhaps should join the “I AUTOMATICALLY HATE THE NEW FACEBOOK HOME PAGE“.

On the contrary there are users who love the new homepage design as it emphasizes those stories which are most important. Someone with large number of friends will find this new home page much to his comfort.

Developers HATE it

The Developing community is the most unhappy lot after seeing the incorporated changes. It’s an absolute disaster according to them. The reason is quite simple. The traffic is down for just about every application on the platform. Some developers have told us they’ve seen a 75 percent decrease in traffic. This new change illustrates just how dependent developers are on Facebook for continued growth.

The new changes does not only impact already existing applications but would also hinder the development of new apps across the board. While users may enjoy a less cluttered feed, developers will always have a preference toward unfiltered distribution.

My Verdict and Suggestions

It is clear that Facebook is going the Twitter way. Over the past few months Facebook has morphed through various evolutions in site design and content as well. Facebook added an option to share status updates publicly– similar to the way Twitter tweets are available to the general public. Facebook updates are still private by default though and require you to manually change the privacy settings to allow them to be shared. It also added Twitter style ‘@’ tags, and purchased FriendFeed, a popular niche social networking rival.

This latest move by Team Zuckerberg demonstrates how Facebook continues to adapt and try to find the right balance of status updates and details to deliver to users. . The changes once again shake up the information that you see by default when you visit your home page on the social networking site. Nothing is going away, things have been moved around. While the presence of two different feeds does confuse things a bit, it demonstrates that Facebook is trying to make its site more real-time like Twitter without borrowing all the unwanted noise that normally comes with Twitterfeeds.

I love the new homepage. I love how it actually is exactly as it was before the latest major overhaul..we have a REAL live feed, as it used to be. I understand that for people who don’t want the whole thing (the live feed), the new news feed might be a little weird. Maybe the default one set by Facebook should be the live feed.

But there are few things which are annoying.

For a novice user the changes would be very confusing. They have no clue of what has been changed and what has remained the same, what you do and don’t get with each option. Is one a superset of the other? Why do we not have the changes explained to us??? That is the biggest boneheaded thing anyone can do –make changes and then force people to scratch their heads and do research.

The automatic filter “add a friend” – when my friend becomes friend with someone. Or when someone has “become a fan” is something which not everyone will like. There has to be an option for the user to uncheck it.

One of the basic tenets of User Interface is that you never change focus on the user. It’s disorienting! On this new Live Feed you can be in the middle of reading a post and your screen will jump somewhere else entirely and not only do you lose minutes trying to find out where you were.

Social networking has been around for a while, but it is still in its infancy. Facebook traffic has increased substantially when compared to its rivals and it is continuously trying to adapt to try and become the Google of social networking and this latest homepage design is the latest effort to achieve this goal.

All that I can say is that it is just another case of Facebook change-a-phobia, where tons of users join useless boycott groups that eventually fade into nonexistence as everyone adjusts to the changes. So Just get used to it and get on with it rather than complaining.

Category: Facebook
  • Aziz says:

    Thanks for all this info!
    Found it much useful and presented in a nice way… :)

    November 19, 2009 at 2:21 pm

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