Facebook’s New Timeline Design Announcement March 7 2013

New Facebook timeline 2013So, we were all agog earlier this afternoon as Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the new timeline design in a big announcement – Goodbye Clutter!

He told us that the focus of new newsfeed design was to give us rich stories that were visual and engaging, along with responding to people’s requests for better access to the information posted by their friends and the pages they had followed – so there would be a choice of different feeds. They were also ensuring that the Facebook experience was consistent across all sizes of device. No longer would your screen prevent you from being able to use/see certain functions.

Images in the newsfeed

The main column is the most important and it is now increasing from its current size of 40% of real estate. Their goal is to design the best container to let our favourite stories shine. We all know that a large percentage of that newsfeed is made up of photographs but, currently, they do not have the same quality as the flashy cameras on which they are taken. So the appearance of photos in both the newsfeed and photo albums will have a major facelift.

They will be bigger and more ‘front and centre’ so we can get a better sense of our friends’ experiences. Facebook want us to be able to experience our friends’ activities as if we were there too.

Sharing in the newsfeed

If a friend shares an article, we want these to shine too. Facebook want our newsfeeds to be as accessible as the table of contents from a well curated magazine. In the new design, there will be a bigger image, longer summary and logo of the publisher that allows us to click and read the whole article immediately.

When several of our friends share articles, videos or links, it must be something good so the new design will emphasise this by showing the faces of all those who have shared it to the left of the item. If you hover over their face, you can see exactly what they said and all the conversations.

New size profile pic in the newsfeed

Facebook’s reason for this resize is that people curate their timeline to best reflect who they are, and so in the new design this is coming into the story. It looks as if the increased size of the profile image will also translate into the little avatar that appears every time they share or comment. The cover image will be narrower to allow for images of our friends who have also liked this person/page and to the right there is a more obvious add a friend/like button.

Whilst Facebook did not actually say that businesses and profiles will be required to change the sizes of their pictures and cover images, it is a concern that this will follow with all the resulting palaver and expense it entailed the last time. Let’s just hope that they don’t then resize them again within weeks of the initial change.

Places in the newsfeed

Places will be getting more prominence so if a friend checks in, there will be a larger image with a map that tells you were the place is.

3rd party apps in the newsfeed

Third party apps like Pinterest which is very visual will get a lot more prominence to better reflect the Pinterest experience and this will extend to lots of 3rd party apps too.

Events in the newsfeed

The new design will be custom tailored to you and your interests, so if it’s Friday, you want to know what to do for the weekend and Facebook will show you upcoming events in your area created by friends or pages that you have liked… or as sponsored listings – this was not totally clear.

It will also show you articles relating to the pages of those public figures and topics that you care about – again it was not mentioned but we should presume that this could well be sponsored.

New Feeds on Facebook

In response to people’s request for access to all the content that their friends or liked pages are posting, we will now have a choice of feeds in a box – or switcher as it was called – situated at the top right of the new pages. These will be categorised/named. So you can have a Music Feed, a Sport Feed, a Photos Feed, a Friends Feed – so you can see every event they are attending, all the photos they’re uploading and the music they are listening to in chronological order.

Best of all, for those businesses who struggle to get seen by their own fans, there will also be a Following Feed for those business pages, public figures, local pages that you have liked.

The close friends and games feeds and also interest lists will be here too.

And this feed will also be in the same place on mobile devices via a pull down menu from the top of the page. The feeds will be sorted according to how much you use them so if you go to a feed every day, it is most likely to be at the top of the list.

Another interesting feature is the bubble which allows you to view new stories without losing your place in your current feed.

Responsive across all sizes of screen/device

Whether you are on mobile, desktop, tablet or laptop, the content has been pushed to the front of the experience and the simplicity of the mobile theme has been used across all devices to keep things clean and functional. There is global navigation from one page to another without having to pass through the home page.

Whereas in the past 35% of users have not had access to the chat bar because their viewport was not wide enough, there is now a tray to see who’s online and chat with them

The new design will start rolling out from today but, at first, only to a small number of users. Facebook want their feedback on these initial changes – this is their usual way. They take on board the comments and do make some alterations.

Find out more at www.facebook.com/newsfeed