Facebook responds to redesign concerns; Changes are coming

Facebook responds to redesign concerns; Changes are coming

Summary: After more than a million Facebook users expressed their dislike of a recent Facebook redesign, the social networking site said today that it plans to make some changes, enhancements and other tweaks in response to user requests and concerns.In a blog post that acknowledged "thousands of e-mails, Wall posts and comments," the company said today that it plans to incorporate more control over the news feed and highlights, as well as other features.

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After more than a million Facebook users expressed their dislike of a recent Facebook redesign, the social networking site said today that it plans to make some changes, enhancements and other tweaks in response to user requests and concerns.

In a blog post that acknowledged "thousands of e-mails, Wall posts and comments," the company said today that it plans to incorporate more control over the news feed and highlights, as well as other features. More importantly, the company is responding to concerns that users are having trouble navigating the site. In the blog post (pasted in its entirety below), Facebook's Chris Cox, wrote:

It’s important that you are able to find everything you’re interested in, or we’re not succeeding in giving you the right level of control. We’re currently working on a few design changes to help you find these things more easily, such as:

• Moving requests to the top of the right column – Friend requests and event invites will be more prominent. • Easier way to create a Friends List filter – From the filters on the left, you will be able to create a new list of friends with which to filter the stream.

The company also took a moment to note that change can be hard for some people. "We keep in mind that there are 175 million people on Facebook, and everyone uses the site differently," Cox wrote. In fairness, a few of my Facebook friends - but, by far, the minority - have said they like the new design.

Here's the official blog post:

Since we launched Facebook’s home page design, we’ve received thousands of e-mails, Wall posts and comments from you along with direct feedback from all of our friends and family. If you’ve already given us feedback, thank you. Hearing what you have to say, whether criticism or praise, helps us build a product that serves you better.

Whenever we build something new or tweak something old, our motivation is the same: to help you share with the people you care about and find out what’s happening with them. Before we launch any new product to all of you, it first must pass a process of design, development, and testing with a more limited user audience. If those results are satisfactory, we then release it for all of you to use. We know that no amount of testing is as valuable as what you have to say. For this reason, we will always look to you, our users, to tell us what is working and what isn’t so we can continually make improvements.

Here are the top four things we’ve been hearing from all of you about the changes, and the areas where we’re focusing on improvements immediately and over the next several weeks.

Add more control and relevance in the stream One of the great parts of Facebook is the ability to share and consume different types of content, such as like photos, videos and notes, all in one place. We’ve heard from you that you want even more variety and control in your stream, and for it to update automatically. Some specific improvements we’re making:

• 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.

Currently, the content filters on the left screen allow you to select the types of content you would like to see. Over time, we’ll continue to give you more control over what’s in your main stream and how you consume it. We have the eventual goal of building filters that summarize this activity so you can see a more condensed view of what’s been going on. We’re also thinking about ways of filtering out some of the Wall posts and content directed to specific people to focus more on posts shared with everyone.

See more Highlights Right now, we’re making improvements to the Highlights section on the right-hand side of your home page. Highlights will update more frequently and will show you more content throughout the day to mirror more closely the content that the earlier News Feed provided.

Find things more easily It’s important that you are able to find everything you’re interested in, or we’re not succeeding in giving you the right level of control. We’re currently working on a few design changes to help you find these things more easily, such as:

• Moving requests to the top of the right column – Friend requests and event invites will be more prominent. • Easier way to create a Friends List filter – From the filters on the left, you will be able to create a new list of friends with which to filter the stream.

Application bookmarks continue to live in the toolbar at the bottom left of the page. You can quickly access your groups, events and other favorite applications from the bottom bar on any page.

Old vs. New Since Facebook started in 2004, we’ve been through several redesigns. Each was built with the intention of making it easier to share and understand what’s going on with the people you care about. Redesigns are generally hard to manage, in part because change is always hard and in part because we may miss improvements that any individual user may like to see. We keep in mind that there are 175 million people on Facebook, and everyone uses the site differently. We listen to feedback from our users, data on how the site is used, and our intuitions as builders and designers to create the product that provides the best experience across the board.

With the recent home page changes, we’re trying to present the right balance between what’s happening right now and what’s interesting over a longer period of time. We realize that both are important and getting them both right is crucial for the product to work. In the last few weeks, you’ve seen us shift the main emphasis towards real-time conversations and updates as the entry point to Facebook. We’re working hard to make this stream more valuable, and also to build out the richness and relevance of the Highlights section.

Your feedback means a lot, and we sort through everything we receive. The best way to give us direct feedback – to ensure that we can consolidate it – is through our feedback link. In the meantime, thanks for your support.

Topics: Collaboration, Browser, Social Enterprise

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29 comments
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  • To be fair...

    Okay, I hadn't been using Facebook but for
    maybe a month before the change but I kind of
    liked the new home page. The only change that I
    would make is to make those updates that come
    up at the top such as new messages or friends
    or whatever it is that shows up up there, I
    would make those MUCH more prominent. There
    have been a few times when I have gone a few
    hours or even more without noticing the
    update...

    Then again, there's always a choice. I would
    give the users the choice in the settings menu
    or whatever to either keep the new one or to
    change it back to the old page... But hey,
    that's just one man's opinion.
    gamefreak9310
    • In my opinion...

      I've been on Facebook since it was students-only social network and I've seen its many changes and I've come to the conclusion that the so-called improvements are anything but. Facebook needs to find a design layout that works and just stick with it.
      IfYoureFeelingSinister29
      • RE: Facebook responds to redesign concerns; Changes are coming

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  • Didn't everyone move to twitter? (nt)

    .
    Fred Fredrickson
    • No...

      Some of us hate twitter, & this latest fb design feels a lot like twitter. So, it repels us.
      jahcriado
      • Both have value

        I use the Sobees beta to monitor and update Facebook and Twitter at the same time.
        A.Sinic
    • Didn't everyone move to twitter?

      Tried Twitter, gave up. Couldn't see the point of reading friends' replies to messages I couldn't see and being limited to 140(?) characters. A thought that can be expressed so briefly usually isn't worth expressing.
      Patrick Neylan
  • Bullet points...

    *** 1: The new design didn't add significant functionality.

    1a- The old design already had live updates (actually live
    though), and filtering by friend group, status, photos, etc.

    1b- The only "new" functionality was to filter by 3rd party
    applications - most of which are rubbish.

    1c- Indeed, the old functionality of being able to dial up or
    down what and who you found interesting - it's gone.

    *** 2: The new design is "dumb", rather than intelligent.

    2a- The old "social graph" algorithm worked for me. It
    digested hundreds of friends and thousands of "data" into
    a digestible, interesting, useful home page.

    2b- The new stream is always the last hour, and if I didn't
    block every 3rd party app I find, it would probably be
    littered with quizzed and sheep throwing. Further, since I
    check Facebook late at the end of the day, my home
    stream is almost exclusively west coast people, instead of
    my local friends who are most interesting to me.

    2c- Twitter is about the "stream", it was founded as a
    micro-blog. Facebook is NOT about the stream - it was
    founded as, and ought to be, an intelligent address book
    that functions like a yearbook, collecting memories with
    photos, and your friends scribbled notes on the inside
    "walls" of the book.

    MOST IMPORTANT TO ME:
    *** 3: The new design reverts Facebook back to 2005.

    3a- Profile changes (groups joined, relationship status,
    interest changes) are left completely unpublished, and thus
    we're left having to go profile to profile, and trying to
    remember what was and was not there, in order to find out
    some of the most interesting aspects of our friends (for
    me, namely, their relationship statuses - completely and
    totally obscure now).

    3b- The new highlights section has SOME group joins, and
    you can even hack the URL to filter by groups, but neither
    are nearly as sufficient as the old Home Feed. And of
    course, it's cramped, minimal in number, and absolutely
    not customizable, so I don't count it.

    ***
    PS. ZDNet - you're even more clueless. What a horrible
    comment registration process. I have to fill in a dozen
    forms, including my address and phone number, and
    manually uncheck from 4 mailing lists - only to be told on
    the next page there's two more that I've been added to,
    that weren't on the previous screen? It's embarrassing for
    you, really.
    tolliewilliams
  • Still gets the same crowd... (you know their theme song)

    <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PH4aElf6CU&feature=related>I'm so lonely...</a>
    B.O.F.H.
  • RE: Facebook responds to redesign concerns; Changes are coming

    I've always thought Twitter was just a subset of the
    features of Facebook anyway, so I have never been
    compelled to use it.

    And as an aside, why do my comments wrap like this
    when I use Google Chrome? Is there any way to stop
    this? It makes me look I am posting from an Apple
    //gs running Contiki.
    zenotek
  • Do they deserve any loyalty at all?

    These folks are completely incompetent. They only got started because they fooled a bunch of school-age kids (and more importantly, their parents) into thinking Facebook was more secure than MySpace and that they would guard the kid's personal information more than MySpace did. What a bunch of crap!

    When I was a kid, there was a kid's show on at noon (remember when we used to come home for lunch?) called Captain Penny, (I think out of Cleveland or Detroit). Capt'n Penny's closing words went something like this:

    'Remember kids, you can fool some of the people all of the time and all [i]175 million[/i] people some of the time but you can't fool Mom".

    Don't let their smooth words of explanation fool you. From his horrible track record, Zuckerberg shows that he has no interest in doing what his users want. This punk will continue to blunder his way along, offending the intelligence of his users and pushing the limits of privacy violations until somehow he stumbles into a way to monetize the damn thing.

    At that point the new owners will bugger it up so badly that the kids will rush off to something else. I predict that ten years from now, we'll read about Zuckerberg being investigated for some misfeasance.
    M.W.H.
    • Facebook & MySpace: Monuments to Bad Web Design

      For a number of years, I've been of the suspicion that the emergence of the "killer app" on the Internet was less the product of good design or sound technological innovation and more the product of luck coupled with skillful cross-linking and business (social) networking. And, in my view, MySpace and (to a lesser extent) Facebook are realizaitons of this theory. Certainly it would make sense that the folks behind each site are competnet at the art of social networking online independent of their own technologies.

      But what could have, and still can blow Facebook and its like out of the water is a social networking site that gains the same viral momentum of its predecessors - and is designed really well. If I had the investment capital at hand, I might even be inclined to take a crack at it myself, and spend some time integrating SharePoint server or other portal technology to let the users tailor their own interface.

      In any case, there's plenty of room for improvement and if history is any teacher, Facebook's not likely to get it right with these latest "upcoming changes".
      ross613
      • fb as web design

        fb is not written to give the user a tailored experience. it is written to have each association made within fb available as data to fb, and imho, is elegant at its >>intended purpose<<.
        myspace, on the other hand, was "designed" by business guys copying what we used to call "vault" technology--a secured, documentable, archivable shared workspace. my dm recall is that it was written in cold fusion at a tme when cold fusion was considered cool.
        myspace already monetises. fb will monetise when the mkt wants te datamining it has done.
        gabrielbear
  • forced 'link URL' ads: no CHOICE of image?

    I love how FaceBook is *littered* with extraneous ads in
    content from friends who append an URL to someone's a/c
    or their own...

    but we no longer have the *choice* to decide if we WANT
    to have the URL ad image stuck onto the note.

    BLECH.

    of course, all of this pales in comparison to the uses of
    privatized or gov't surveillance on all these 'links' between
    people...
    BlueBerry Pick'n
  • Nobody likes change

    Nobody liked the new facebook around 3 months ago, but everyone is used to it now.

    People have been complaining about the present one in the same way, its like facebook isnt allowed to make any changes.
    custserv
    • Why fix it if it ain't broke?

      Remember the Coca Cola debacle? They changed the formula, asked a few people if they liked the new taste - not whether they preferred it to the old. Why don't software companies provide the option for using a new interface or the old and then monitor the usage? That way, a preferred improvement could be implemented and a cock-up of a redesign could be abandoned. Can anyone give a reason for not offering the option to choose between a new interface and an old?
      JohnOfStony
      • Here's one reason...

        Can anyone give a reason for not offering the option to choose between a new interface and an old?
        ----
        I'm a developer so have some insight into this question.

        Facebook is on it's 2nd redesign since I've been on it (less than a year). If you keep giving this option, your maintenance costs go up each redesign. It's not feasible since you need to add a new development team (or at least a few developers) for each redesign to maintain each iteration of the interface. Ditto for QA. Where do you cut it off?

        Being a free app, Facebook doesn't have the kind of financial latitude it would need to pull this off since they'd need to hire more and more people as time went on.

        In answer to your query, the reason is "not financially possible".

        Why they feel the need to push these changes, despite an amazing amount of opposition from their users (myself included), and the fact that the interface Just Works(tm) is something I cannot answer.

        I think the only people that want these changes are the facebook development (or possibly management) team. They are making the classic mistake of deciding what's good for their users instead of the other way around.

        -Viz
        pwn0tr0n
        • web interfaces aren't like full program interfaces...

          any reasonable size e-retailer will have 3-4 shopping carts in use at any given time, as a way of testing out improvements.

          if all you're changing is layout and things like that, you're not going to require a whole new dev team, only a radio button in the options panel, and a way of tracking which client-layout stuff to send to that given account...

          when they had the experimental stuff with the www.NEW.facebook.com they were on the right idea, except, they shouldn't put it in the URL, they should put it in post/cookie, and then *NOT* remove it.

          They've shown that they know how to do multiple interfaces to the same backend software/services... They just have shown an unwillingness to provide options in that regard. (They seem eager to give control and choice to users for everything else... this would mean just undoing a little bit of damage, really... mockup code would probably be able to be completed within a day of work... it'd just be the testing/rollout/polish that would take any amount of time.

          As well, they could take a SET of polls, asking about *EACH* feature, and what people want it to look like. If you want people to buy into a decision, don't ram it down their throat, they'll gag almost every time... If they want to swallow it, they'll do it themselves!
          shryko
  • RE: Facebook responds to redesign concerns; Changes are coming

    I like it! The new design has achieved something great for me: letting me see the news channels per friend group (per country in my case). The interface could be 'prettier', but it works quite well for me. Friends of mine are complaining of course, but they are the same taht complained on the previous changes in the layout, and will be the same that go on complaining with the next changes.
    Vahidm
  • RE: Facebook responds to redesign concerns; Changes are coming

    zuckerberg's mantra is to force people to give more than they get. it's in the datamining, the "neural net" inside the fb "cloud."
    having functionally "stolen" facebook, (see the article from rolling stone) with sme amusing funding sources, zuckerberg is on record saying fb is worth about 20% of what it was worth when msft invested (this, lolol, may have something to do with the fact that the statement was made while answering court papers about compensating those he cut out of the game.)
    fb "deserves" nothing. loyalty even less.
    gabrielbear