Facebook tweaks design after user backlash

26 Mar 2009

One million plus Facebook fans can’t be wrong: all the complaints over the new design essentially boils down to one thing – many users think it sucks, and Facebook HQ had responded by conceding to some important tweaks.

Every time a favoured web service changes its layout or design, there is bound to be a faction of users dissatisfied with the new versus the old and Facebook is no different. Whiel it has gone through many changes, the latest redesign generated negative feedback not just because of its Twitter-heavy inspiration, but because information once easily accessible has now been lost in the new layout.

Responding to the sheer volume of user feedback, Chris Cox, Facebook’s director of product, said the company has taken the top four “things we’ve been hearing from all of you about the changes” (read: stuff you really hate about the new layout), and will be considering these when looking at improvements over the next few weeks.

The first thing Facebook has decided to tackle is ‘Add more control and relevance in the stream’ because users have mentioned drawbacks to the life streaming, Twitter-type updates, including the inundation of application content – something they would like the ability to switch off or tweak.

Another addition Facebook has promised is the ability to see tagged photos of your friends appearing on your stream and, of course, more importantly, live update will auto-fresh from the near future, so no need to manually reload the page to see the latest friend activity.

The ‘highlights’ feature to the right of the main update stream will also be changed to update more frequently, and Facebook promises that it will be more relevant.

And what about the whole ‘I hate this Twitter clone’ thing? Well, ‘it’s new and you’ll get used to it’ is essentially what Cox is saying.

“Redesigns are generally hard to manage, in part because change is always hard and in part because we may miss improvements that any individual user may like to see,” he said on the official Facebook Blog.

By Marie Boran