It’s been some time since Facebook made any changes to its News Feed, and like Timeline feature launched in 2011 the News Feed redesign represents a major change to one of the site’s core services.
In the press event announcing the change, Mark Zuckerberg said of the service, “The news feed is one of the most important things we’ve built”. He went on to add that the News Feed was, “the most personalized newspaper,” and that, “the stories around you deserve to be displayed with more than just text”.
These statements coincided perfectly with the three major components of the new and improved news feed: larger images; multiple feeds; consistency across mobile devices.
However, the goal of the News Feed redesign wasn’t only to make it a better product for Facebook users. It also enhanced the ability for businesses to inject sponsored posts into the stream by making these advertisements richer and bigger; allowing for larger images and video content to be used as advertising. While there was no mention of video advertising in the presentation the opportunity is obviously there.
As far as feeds are concerned, users will now be able to control how feeds are displayed. Using a subscription-based model the user will be able to remove feeds that create too much noise as well as add new feeds based on their likes or their relationship with other users.
On the surface, the ability to break feeds down by category and increased real estate for the feeds look like great enhancements for the user. Yet given Facebook’s lack of respect for their users’ information and privacy shown in the past, it makes you wonder if the driving force behind these improvements was a dedication to user experience or a dedication to their business model.
Don’t get me wrong, I know Facebook is in business to make money and keep their investors happy, but when a company releases new product features that make marketers drool you have to wonder just who they are trying to please.
The one feature that presents itself to be something that will have real benefit for Facebook users is their dedication to providing a consistent look over multiple devices. Given how many users interact with their Facebook account over their phone or tablet, it only makes sense to address this market.
Impressively, the team responsible for this feature looked to many of the apps built to enhance the Facebook experience on mobile devices. Adding a side navigation bar and more white space certainly make it easier to condense content to fit a smartphone’s screen as well as expand to fill the larger screen of a tablet. The aim of this new look was to declutter the page and give it a simpler look according to the project’s lead engineer.
Facebook has promised a slow roll out of this latest redesign, perhaps to quiet the onslaught of complaints that most applications receive when they overhaul something to this extent. Those who wish to get an early glimpse of the News Feed enhancement can sign-up for the waiting list at www.facebook.com/newsfeed. Others will just have to wait and see if they take kindly to the changes or start signing petitions to bring back the old look.
What do you think of the new Facebook News Feed design? Will you be using it? Let us know in the comments.