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The New Facebook Format

March 14, 2009

First off let me say that I am not one generally opposed to change, when there is a purpose for that change that will be of some benefit to the majority involved. I am a middle-aged, technically savvy individual who has previously used MySpace and Twitter, both of which I abandoned for the more refined, uncluttered format of Facebook, which I’ve been using for about a year now. I actually liked the last round of changes that many people complained about because it brought significant improvement in flexibility and functionality. But the most recent round of changes to the homepage and the profile page are terrible. The large font, suitable for a near-blind person, lends a childish and unprofessional feel and the resulting lack of white space leaves the pages feeling cluttered. The plethora of rounded-corner photos attached to every action are annoyingly large and over-used, only adding to the confusion and disorganized feel.

The homepage is not a “live” feed as promised, but must be manually refreshed to get new items, unlike the old news feed which would refresh itself every 15 minutes or so. Furthermore it is just a big dump of status updates and clutter about people sending gifts and peeps and hatching eggs and finding treasure items… gone are many of the interesting and newsworthy things friends are doing — who they are now friends with, comments on other friends’ photos and links, etc. The filtering by friend list is nice, but this option was available in the old version, just not so obviously positioned. But gone is the ability to fine tune the filtering by choosing more or less about particular friends and/or activities. Now it is all or nothing — either you see every silly mundane thing your friends are saying and doing or you hide them and see nothing they are doing. And why on earth would I want my own activities (i.e. postings to my friends’ walls) to appear in *my* news feed? I am the one who posted it, I already know what it said… I have gotten around this by making a friend list of all my friends and filtering on that list instead of everyone, just to exclude my own activity (how backward is that?). The “highlights” sidebar is just a huge waste of space as it primarily shows stuff my friends have already posted which has previously been in my news feed, along with a few strategically placed ads — I suspect the volume of ads in this area will only increase over time. What happened to the convenient access to my bookmarks, applications, events and page updates? Those things were far more useful to the average user than the things FB considers to be “highlights.” I have no idea where I will find new friend requests or other notifications — either nobody has sent me any in the past 24 hours or I just haven’t located them yet.

The profile page is a jumble of he said/she said — no more distinguishing status posts from wall posts and comments by font size, weight and format — they all look the same now! And why on earth do I need or want to see my own little picture attached to everything I do on my own page? Not to mention the profile page is no longer chronological, rather is loosely grouped by activity type. Given that they have completely done away with the time stamps, it is now nearly impossible to follow activity in the sequence it happened. It is pretty silly when a comment I make about something appears 6 items *below* the actual posting of the original item. Another thing missing on the profile page is the ability to choose how much of a particular item you want to show on the page — one line, short bit or full story. Likewise with photos, no longer is there the flexibility to set a size.

As far as I can see, the new format adds absolutely no additional functionality, rather decreases functionality and user flexibility and is just an all-around bad design aesthetically, technically and functionally. What on earth was the point of this change?

Posted by Deb  4 Comments »

Topics: things that make you go "huh?"

4 Responses to “The New Facebook Format”

  1. Tammy Says:
    March 23rd, 2009 at 7:31 am

    I totally agree Deb! At first, I thought the changes were only on the home page-and other than the annoying “hid an Easter Egg” dumping that you talked about didn’t really mind the changes. But I’m starting to see more of the Profile changes and information scrambling. It is much more frustrating!

  2. Heidi Says:
    April 1st, 2009 at 9:48 am

    I am so with you! I really think you said it all in a much better way than I could.

  3. Rick_in_Boca Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I knew I didn’t like it, but I didn’t know why until you wrote up your analysis.

    I know they wanted to do away with “groups” but they are still there… just almost impossible to find. I need to go to my own profile, click info, and then scroll down to my groups. “Groups” is not one of the options for customizing my page.

  4. Susan Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I am also in agreement as a matter of fact, I haven’t updated mine because of it. I wonder who the idiot was behind these changes.