Facebook Does It Again

I feel compelled to comment on the new Facebook layout. Based on status updates, I was one of the last people on my friends list to receive the new layout. Every single one of their status updates were negative, all of my Facebook friends universally hated the new layout. It seems like that last redesign only came out a 3 or 4 months ago, I wonder if this might been partially responsible for the backlash. It’s human nature to hate change.

I must say, when I first saw the screenshots of the new layout posted on the official Facebook blog a few weeks ago I was rather optimistic. The FB crew seemed to be embracing the new “real-time” web that’s become popular with the rise of Twitter. I really like the way that all your friends’ updates just appear in one big long list. It’s a major improvement over the old “news feed” which was entirely broken! There would be times when I’d see a “story” 2 times on the same day, or the story would appear one day, then re-appear the next for no apparent reason. It was frustrating.

I haven’t run across it yet, but I imagine they the real-time feed could easily become incredibly busy and equally unusable. The filters along the left-hand side should help to alleviate this problem. But it’s possible that at certain times of the day, for heavy users, there is going to be too much junk to weed through.

I’m really not sure how I feel about the overal design itself. They left the header and (floating) footer alone. Those two elements have have always been the least useful, most confusing elements of the site (like why does the “Inbox” drop down menu have a link to “view message inbox” that takes you to the same place as clicking “inbox” – baffling!). It’s lacking something I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s empty and busy at the same time, if that’s possible.