Facebook Redesign

9 Feb 2010 - 10:01am
3 years ago
4 replies
1461 reads
Vlad Margulis
2010

The new Facebook design looks like one of the busiest interfaces I've
seen in a while. It immediately reminded me of the Yahoo! homepage
back when... well, when it was too busy. Yet somehow, the Facebook
homepage makes sense, doesn't feel too overwhelming and is easily
navigable and parse-able.

I think there are two things going on here; one is that they did a
fairly good job following basic Gestalt principles of perception to
clearly chunk out the layout and establish hierarchy. Two, I think
our brains are becoming more accustomed to processing much more
visual information.

It's been suggested by new neurological research that the way the
brain understands complex concepts is through established
neurological frameworks, meaning the brain forms neural circuits
which define a specific conceptual framework. For example if I say
"Mystery novel" your brain already has an established
idea/preconception of the structure of that concept. When you read
the actual novel, you'll be fitting the content into that framework,
through a process called neural binding.

My theory is that we now have a neurological framework of such
interfaces -- we know the navigation will be on the left, we know the
content will be in the middle, we know there might be threading of
conversations, we know there might be a chat roster on the lower
left, we know a chat window might popup on the lower right, we know
there will be a searchbox at the top, etc. In fact, if you look at
the Yahoo! design, the page that it initially reminded me of, it has
a very similar structure. Because we already have this framework in
our brain, we don't need too much of a cognitive process to
understand the page, all we need to do is process the content. I
believe even though the page looks crazy busy to our design-trained
eye, we now have the proper neural structure to be able to parse and
comprehend it with relative ease.

Comments

9 Feb 2010 - 4:40pm
Matthew Belskie
2008

I disagree with your analysis that it is an easily navigable site when
compared to the previous incarnation with respect to three common
tasks that users perform on this page.

1) Task: Navigate to Groups/Events
Cause: Lack of persistent navigation features

In the incarnation before this one there was a set of buttons in the
lower left of the window (modifiable) that were always present
regardless of the screen you were on within fb. So no matter where
you were, a single click would take you to your Events/Groups/Happy
Aquarium/whatever.

It had a nice form factor and didn't clutter the screen.

What a person now has to do is navigate back to your home page by
clicking a link at the very top of the page (and heaven forbid you
are scrolled to the bottom of a screen), and then click on the
appropriate item on the left.

2) Task: View updates
Cause: Position and temporariness (sic) of the Notifications item

This is really very similar to the first item, but I enjoyed the
permanence of the Notification area in the bottom right. It was out
of the way enough that I could open it and then click through each of
the items, read all of the status notification update items (for
instance, see that a number of my friends replied to a certain status
and read those replies), and then once I was at the bottom of that
string click on the next item from the update window.

Two things happen now to make that more difficult. First, once you
click the Status link to see how a person has commented on the
status, the Notification window disappears. So immediately I need to
re-open that window after reading through one thread of items.

This task is then made more difficult by the fact that the
Notification window is not a permanent feature on the page. So after
I have scrolled down through each reply to a status I have to scroll
to the top again, re-open the Notification window area, and then
choose the next item.

3) Task: Logout
Cause: Logout is not a main page item now

This one gets my goat the most. Not only is it an inconvenience
issue, but the inconvenience of it gives rise to potential security
issues. In the version before this one you could Logout from any
page with a single click.

You can still Logout from any page, but it requires that you open a
menu item and then choose to do so. Because of the added step, users
will probably be more likely to just close the browser tab/window.
There is nothing to say they weren't doing this before, but in using
Gmail and banking websites I had come to think that Logout is a common
function (that is typically the conclusion of any session) that should
always be available.

My gf suggested that this was because facebook relies on advertising,
and so they want to discourage users from logging out - which to me
seems absurd enough that I hope that is not the case.

Conclusion: These tasks seem like very common tasks, and are staples
of every facebook session that I personally engage in. Insofar as a
redesign should at least consider the tasks that users engage in and
seek to simplify those I feel that this redesign has failed in the
above three regards.

Matthew

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=49195

10 Feb 2010 - 5:02pm
j.scot
2008

Without havinng done any of my own analysis (take the time to
carefully consider the implications to my own use, and what their
motives might have been), I can defintiely say my initial reaction is
that I don't like it. Biggest one of all -- as someone else already
noted -- is the loss of Log Out on the top bar.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=49195

10 Feb 2010 - 8:53pm
Eugene Kim
2005

Just my own personal observations regarding the removal of the task
bar at the bottom... I found it was a hassle to have to scan between
the very top and very bottom of the screen when I was looking for
navigation. It divided my attention, too, as I looked down to
navigate and then back up to view the content. Even though the
precedent's already been set by the Windows task bar and the Mac
dock, I still don't expect to look down at the bottom of a webpage
for navigation. More content as I scroll, yeah, but not navigation.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=49195

27 Apr 2011 - 5:06am
DonnaG
2010

Oh well, I can't compare because I just created my account recently. For many individuals, sharing is second nature and I can say that its the best feature Facebook has to offer. On the other hand, there are numerous pros and cons about this but as time goes by, the use of social networking sites has been used in different purpose. Just like what I read here: Facebook posts lead to bank robbery arrests.

I guess it's one of the positive side of this site no matter what the design is.

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