The continued long and drawn-out death of skeuomorphic web design took another step forward this month with a redesign by the world’s biggest social media site, Facebook. While redesign and Facebook have become somewhat synonymous over the years, something feels different this time. While the redesign promises to add features, it actually strips much of the clutter, specifically in the fresh new logo and the News Feed page that focuses heavily on web images.
For starters, Facebook has simplified the logo, dropping the odd reflection strip at the bottom of the logo that always looked like something from clipart circa 1998. The letter ‘f’ has been slightly enlarged, and the bottom stem now connects with the outer edge of the square, opening up the logo to more white space. Conceptually, this tiny change makes a huge difference. The arms of the glyph have also been tweaked, with a longer protrusion on the left and a more acute angle on the right.
The new look for the website is spearheaded by bigger web images and a focus on stories. The News Feed has primarily become a source of visual content, Mark Zuckerberg said, adding that 50% of the average News Feed´s content is web images. Photos will now become more attractive and gain more prominence in the News Feed, even those shared via third parties like Pinterest. Another monumental change is the re-arrangement of the two sidebars. I’ve always felt the News Feed was poor in terms of usability, squeezed between two columns of what seemed like nothingness. The left sidebar, containing Favorites, Pages, Apps, and Groups has now been minimized into a thin, icon-driven navigation reminiscent of something you’d see on an iPad app. The right sidebar has been streamlined into a neat array of News Feed options, bumping the assault of advertisements down the page. Finally, the meat of the page, the actual News Feed has been increased by 25% and highlighted by a fresh white-on-gray-background color scheme. Finally, sticking with the concept of bigger visuals, cover photos now show up in select areas of the News Feed. Things just feel tighter, better looking, and overall, an improvement in web posture than the previous design.
It’s not just all pretty design changes. The redesign also embodies one of the cardinal rules of user interface design–allowing users to have control over content. Alongside all of the aforementioned changes, users now have the ability to customize their News Feed by selecting one of the predefined feeds or creating their own. Some of the new feeds include Photos, Music, Games, and All Friends. The All Friends feed is one of the most refreshing of the new additions. It’s real-time, easily accessible at all times, and just one click away in the top right of the screen. It delivers your friends, and only your friends, no sponsored posts, no brands, nothing else. Users can also customize their feeds by easily including or excluding friends by virtually any filter imaginable.
Finally, the redesign provides consistency, another cardinal rule of user interface design. Rather than varying displays from device to device, the new Facebook provides a consistent experience via responsive design, something we’ve been excited about at Webolutions for quite some time. Whether you’re on your desktop, a tablet, or a laptop, things scale neatly and are almost identical in design. All of these platforms offer the same left-hand menu, toolbar, and similarly styled icons. Facebook can also devote more design and development power to improving on the new responsive design rather than managing apps for the countless number of devices they offer them to.
What do you think of the new design? Let us know in the comments below. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/about/newsfeed
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