Meeting Old Friends
Facebook is great. I love the experience of having a friend contact me or vice a versa and then for them to become a part of my network. Usually one of the first things I do is once I have added someone to my list of friends is I like to check out their profile. The mayhem usually starts here. When I come to the profile, its usually so cluttered by far too many pointless applications, that I cannot easily find the information that is really important to me when trying to get reacquainted with a friend. For me that would normally be looking at the photos or the wall of my newly added friend. Yet sometimes, more often then I like, I never find the photos and the wall is usually stacked at the bottom of the page underneath multitudes of applications. These are in my opinion issues that need to be addressed.
Facebook is working on a redesign concentrating on simplifying the user interface so that it is easier to find the different major elements of the site, such as your Wall, Photos or your profile information. BusinessWeek published an interesting article which tries to shed light on this topic. (You can find it here.)
At first it looks like Facebook is adopting the design that was used for the iPhone interface which is Tab centric. However, when you look deeper you see there that there is more at play. Facebook is rethinking how to group functionality and make the user experience more logical. For example, there is a tab called Photos on the front page where you can now access naturally your own photo albums, but also see photos that were recently updated from your friends or photos where you were tagged all in one place. This kind of logical grouping I believe will lead make the site easier to use and improve the overall user experience.
Facebook has also added a tabbed page called Feeds where you will be able to see wall posting from friends and different activities that they are doing. Nothing so new here, except that Facebook is concentrating on providing you with more filtering options. The current proposal suggests three pre-made filters: wall posts with mini-feeds, only wall posts or only mini-feeds. This change may seem simple but it again shows that Facebook team is doing here more than just re-desgin, but rethinking the user experience. The min-feed on my profile today actually shows only my events but adding these filters will allow users to gain access to information that otherwise would require some digging and exploration. I really like the direction this is going.
Overall I think the new redesign can really work and I applaud Facebook for daring to make such changes when having such a large customer base. Its often extremely difficult to introduce such major redesigns and please everyone.
To see more details go to the Facebook’s Preview Page here.