Facebook's New Layout – Why The Complaints?

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FacebookFor their sixth birthday Facebook launched a new look to their website. The new look rolled out over a period of a week and Facebook uses slowly were able begin to use the new site. As new users began to use the new site, the status messages started showing frustration and groups such as BRING BACK THE OLD FACEBOOK started forming, again. Deja Vu?

Every time Facebook rolls out a new look, people get upset, frustrated, and form groups. I don’t understand it. Very few websites remain exactly the same over a period of six years. When it comes to websites and design, change is usually good. Think about it. If we kept websites the same for years and years on end, we would still have our sites in tables with the pipe border around each table with each cell being a different color. I bet Facebook would look great with the old table look, circa 1997.

Change is generally good. Most websites such as Facebook are making changes behind our backs every day. They are upgrading server functionality, they’re changing code to make the site run just a little bit faster, and they continue to build upon the pieces of the site that are already in place. People never complain about the site moving faster do they? By creating the new layout, Facebook is actually making it easier to navigate in the long run. It now only takes one click once you’re logged in to see your friends profile updates. Before, it was two. Ideally we’d all become accustomed to the new design over night, but it takes a  little bit of time and eventually we realize that Facebook just made it easier for us!

Facebook has taken a great approach to the design change. Looking over Facebook’s archive of designs, you will see the color scheme has always stayed the same, the homepage has had two major overhauls in terms of layout, and the inside of the website generally matched the header and footer of the outside. They’re staying consistent. It would be a major problem if every time they did the redesign the navigation moved, the colors changed, and the functionality changed. Facebook slowly rolls out new functionality and eases us into the change. They didn’t go from the 2004 look to 2010 look over night.

Think of it as the evolution of the Pepsi Logo. In the 1970’s the Pepsi logo was sharp and fit with the times. Forty years later the logo still has the circle and says their name, it just moved with the times. Like Pepsi, Facebook hasn’t changed its overall brand with the new design, they’ve upgrade it to move with the times. Very few companies can get away without change. It’s a part of life and over time the new Facebook layout will be appreciated. For now, click through it and stop complaining. It’s not that hard to learn!

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Comments (0)

  1. Have to disagree here. No one complains about the site getting faster because it would be a welcome change. Most people see Facebook as a means of communication and not entertainment and when that’s tampered with it’s users rightly become vexed. After all, if your mobile network changed the display on your phone without asking most people would be disgruntled. By bringing ‘entertainment services’ to the fore Zuckerberg has dropped from bright guy to an average marketeer in one swoop. People dont want the bandwidth spent on music and movies etc on their FB page. I have iTunes etc for that. It smacks of desperation to be honest.
    In your cola analogy you site the brand design (a field I’ve worked in for decades) of pepsi. This is to fundamentally misunderstand what Facebook represents to many users. It’s all about the taste. When someone uses a website sporadically then they care less about the layout… but Facebook isnt like that. it has HEAVY users so taste is a better analogy and both Pepsi and Coke have reversed decisions on taste in the past (true, they’re still here.. but at the time it was damaging).

    The problem with FB’s new design (Timeline) is that it’s a radical departure from the tweaks before (something which I haven’t complained about before now. It would be fine if it was for a new site such as Google+ (in fact although I’m on G+ it’s not aesthetically pleasing and timeline would be awesome for it) but people have invested years on their FB pages doing EXACTLY what Zuckerberg wanted… to make them their own. When you give people personal ownership over something you cannot just take it away. ‘Better Facebook’ is a brilliant browser extension that helps you revert most of the changes (I’m using it as I type) and I believe is the first shot in what will one day be the public wresting control of Facebook away from Zuckerberg. Corporations can’t patent layout or text, only algorithms (which are easily replaced with new ones). In my honest, media driven, opinion… it won’t be long before we see a ‘wikipedia model’ version of Facebook.

    In summarry, no one cares about the ‘behind the scenes’ changes for precisely that reason. The public ‘think’ they own Facebook and history tells us it’s only a matter of time before a) it does or b) it dies and is replaced by an initially more ‘friendly’ model.

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