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First Impressions of the (Latest) Facebook Redesign


IT’S BECOMING EASIER TO PREDICT THE FUTURE.

AT LEAST WHEN FORTUNE-TELLING CONCERNS THE INTERSECTION OF PUBLISHING, TECH AND DESIGN.

facebook article
As eROI foretold, Facebook recently unveiled a sneak peek at a simplified user interface redesign featuring bigger visuals, less copy and less modules of information. (See for yourself and sign up for the redesign wait list here)
The New York Times calls the move “another signal that design is becoming one of the most important factors in technology,” in an article previewing Facebook’s new look.

The publishing giant goes on to point to its own shift toward featuring less content on its print homepage, and noted: “Facebook is finally learning the lesson that all media empires must eventually grasp: for the people who consume its content, less is often more.”

Since eROI creates websites, email and Facebook campaigns, as well as a plethora of integrated digital efforts for clients in the publishing (The Baltimore Sun, for example) and technology (Intel, for example) realms, it made sense to poll the Creative, Strategy, Development and Account teams for their take on Facebook’s impending design overhaul.


Tamara Crawford, Creative Director –

Why not address bigger issues such as increasing distrust of the brand, unease about privacy control, abandonment, and poor filtering and delivery of posts and ads?
 
If I mix the [upcoming] bigger photos with Facebook’s poor filtering I think, “Gah. Bigger photos of somebody’s airport hamburger.”


Gerry Blakney, Managing Art Director -/+

I am a huge Facebook supporter and do not fall into the “Facebook rebellion group of cool kids who hate it” category.
I am an early adopter (original .edu account member) and have generally been pleased with the direction that Facebook has moved in.
That being said, while I am a fan of their new direction—their delivery is lacking:
Facebook has trained us to engage in a particular way, i.e. often and with as much content as possible. Moving in the opposite direction is the right way to go to preserve our attention span as users (and humans). However well-intentioned their shift is, though, they should start that change in a similarly slow fashion. Turning an about face immediately, as they’re attempting, breeds confusion, then boredom and resentment among their users.
I, personally—when presented with the new layout and direction for information sharing, thought it was a mistake.
And this behavior is exactly why Facebook gets such a bad rap—they change elements without notification, frequently. That is a recipe for user resentment.

Matt Popkes, Digital Strategist +
From the very little bit I’ve seen, I like what I’m seeing. Less is more. It’s a great departure from the current experience, which feels like 500 people are all yelling at you at once. The new layout reminds me a bit ofFlipboard, which I’m also a huge fan of. Clean, browsable, manageable amount of content.

I’m interested to see the inevitable backlash that occurs any time Facebook changes anything.
 

Heidi Olsen, Designer/Developer +

I didn’t really have that strong of an opinion on the new user interface and usually find it hilarious how upset people DO get when Facebook changes their site. However, I do appreciate their focus on multiple devices as well as streamlining content.
Our creative department at eROI has been doing a lot of research about responsive design and will be utilizing this practice on internal projects to then show our clients.

Matt Grantski, Developer

I don’t find it surprising that the NY Times, Facebook, and Google+ are making massive design changes. There are so many mammoth entities and corporations on the web; three of them changing their interfaces is not that much of a coincidence. The interesting angle is that all of them are embracing a mobile-like experience on the desktop. On mobile devices, it’s a better experience to have a simple and elegant design than to have content, content, and content packed into every pixel. In a desktop interaction, some accepted practices were to have a two or three column layout to fit more content on the page, to have smaller text sizes to fit more content on the page, and wonky hovering menus to allow easy access to all the great content on other pages.
I will also not find it surprising when everyone cries foul about Facebook changing their layout, again—”Ugh, I *HATE* how Facebook looks now! Why do they keep doing this! I’m done!”—only to see them acquiesce to the changes and learn to love them without admitting it. Humans are creatures that desire comfort, so when their comfort with an interface/experience from something as trivial as a website is jostled because of a redesign, we will see it as a threat to that comfort. But we will find a way to get comfortable again. We always do.

 

Beth Palmer, Project Manager +

Facebook’s redesign is nothing more than on trend.
That’s clear in that: Standing social media and news media giants have adapted a similar aesthetic en masse (think: Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, Ebony, USA Today, and many, many, many more). And, simultaneously, brand new online publishing sites like Medium embody less-is-more  right out of the gate.

So, I’ve accepted it. And, I do like it. But, it doesn’t concern me because I know, if the past is telling (and it is) the next game-changer’s around the corner.

Remember the redesign avalanche Pinterest’s success created? All of a sudden, all sites that knew anything about anything adopted the mosaic, waterfall, image-driven fluid layout (eROI THINK and eROI WORK pages included) made popular by Pinners. That’s the type of game-changer I anticipate.

I wonder who is collaborating and coding right now, dreaming up the next major desktop/tablet/mobile/touch user experience design innovation? Is it a person or company you know? Let me know, because, I’m excited. (Seriously, do. I’m best reached @bethsheapalmer on Twitter.)

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