Facebook User Interface Revision and Revolt

One of my guides for creating a slick FB profile recently made PC World’s list of 10 tips for Facebook Power Users (Tip #5).  That coverage sort of endorsed me as a thought leader in tweaking Facebook.  The user interface and design of Facebook is only of interest to me because I enjoy the service so much and like sharing my experience with it.

As you might guess I’ve been following the redesign of Facebook pretty closely. My pal Bryan just posted a link to another great PC World article on Facebook “caving” to user concerns in the redesign. The article contains a good summary but also some important links worth checking out:

  • Facebook’s Director of Product, Chris Cox official reaction (blog entry)
  • Techcrunch shames Facebook for caving to users.
  • The idea that while 2 million users complained about the redesign, yet that is only 1% of the userbase is highlighted here.

The main changes they will be making in the near term to satisfy complaints are:

  • Live updating: One of the most common requests is the ability to see your stream update automatically. We will be adding the ability to turn on auto updating in the near future so you no longer need to refresh the page.
  • Photo tags: In order to surface more photos you might like to see, we’ll be adding photos tagged of your friends to the stream. This will happen in the coming weeks.
  • More choices for applications: We’ve heard feedback that there is a lot of application content appearing in the stream. We will be giving you tools to control and reduce application content that your friends share into your stream.

I have a theory that the live updates thing was supposed to be introduced at the same time as the major feed update.  I had actually personally contacted FB with my dissatisfaction resulting from having people’s favorite color thrust upon me.

I think that what the new design will receive a more favorable response once the manual page refresh is gone–especially with the this new icon based format.

I suspect that the design team / Zuckerberg felt it would be too much change at once and instead left off the auto-refresh stuff. This half-leap caused a lot of concern because it didn’t incorporate the full concept behind the redesign.

I have another theory regarding the sudden forced inclusion of friends’ application updates:

Application developers suffered greatly when the apps were moved from a person’s profile to the Boxes tab. I know because my own DMB FB app with 9000+ users took a major dive in traffic after the change.  I think that the forced inclusion of app updates in the retooling was meant to try and return the favor to app developers. Unfortunately, announcements from apps seem to be dominated by rather niche trivial quiz that no one cares about.

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