In early March Facebook announced that the News Feed was going to be re-designed. The redesign is going to de-clutter your News Feed and make it easier to consume content. They’re working to make it easier to find the updates you are looking for and using user feedback to make Facebook better overall; and they are succeeding.
I’ve had the new News Feed design for a few weeks now and I really like it. The information that you see hasn’t changed, however how it’s presented has been.
Upon switching to the new layout, the first thing you’ll notice is that it has actually been cleaned up and de-cluttered quite a bit. Visually, it’s very impressive. It feels like a well-polished, professional site.
The right sidebar ticker and chat has been merged with the left sidebar and placed on a dark background. This is similar to how the mobile apps are setup. The sidebar also collapses down on smaller screens to free up space for your News Feed. This is a great feature, except it expands when you hover over it and that gets to be annoying at times. The right side ads remain, however they are laid out nicer.
The blue bar at the top has been replaced with Graph Search and the amount of information up there has been cut down as well. This area is still in development though as I’ve seen a few different designs and recently my name and image disappeared from the blue bar. It’s also a bit weird how clicking on the Facebook logo takes you to your News Feed and also changes into a search icon for the Graph Search bar, however the usability has been getting better over the past few weeks.
In the News Feed, most everything is bigger. Avatars, images, links and Likes all get more space. Status updates have nice boxes around them to separate the content, which makes it easier to consume as you scroll down the page. Like, Comment and Share buttons are bigger too, but not too big.
If multiple friends have shared the same thing, it’ll be combined in a way that doesn’t take up more space and yet doesn’t lose the share data. This is a nice upgrade to the awful way Facebook combined shared information in the past.
The other big feature that comes with the new News Feed is dedicated feeds. Dedicated feeds show you only updates for Friends, Following (aka Likes or Pages), Most Recent, Photos, Groups, Games and more. This is where the really good stuff comes into play.
The All Friends feed shows no pages, games or ads in the feed. Overall, this is kind of what I always wished Facebook was; just my friends. Facebook does throw in likes, cover photo updates, and other information on what your friends are doing so there is a bit of noise, but it’s very minimal.
The All Following feed shows you all the posts from the pages you’ve Liked on Facebook. Unlike the main News Feed, you actually do see all posts from all pages. Once you take a look at this feed, you’ll realize how much information Facebook doesn’t show you from things you’ve opted into. In the past, this page also shown information from pages that your friends like, that Facebook thinks you’d like, however that seems to be gone today.
The Most Recent feed shows you the most recent activity from your friends and pages on Facebook. You see games played, cover photo updates, Likes, status updates and all that jazz. Again, viewing this feed really makes you realize what Facebook isn’t showing you in the main News Feed; good or bad.
The Photos feed is beautiful. It’s only the photos your friends have shared and they are all front and center. No additional noise. Facebook also prompts you to organize your photos by removing the right sidebar ads and asking you to fill out information about your albums. From what I’ve been hearing, this is one of the most loved new features.
There is also group specific feeds show you updates from just people in those groups. I think that groups are often under used on Facebook and this is one way for Facebook to get you to start using them. They are quite nice and chances are you already have a bunch of groups that were auto setup.
Overall, the News Feed redesign is great. It really puts the focus on what your friends are doing and makes it much more enjoyable to be on Facebook.
As Facebook continues to roll out the News Feed design they will continue to tweak and change things. What I see today is much improved over what I saw in early March. It’s actually gotten quite a bit better.
If you’d like to test out the News Feed redesign, look for this banner at the top of your current News Feed and give it a try.
Have you opted into the new design yet? If not, I’d recommend taking it for a spin. Chances are, you won’t look back.