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Facebook Unveils New User Experience

The Menlo Park-based social media company embraced design principles for mobile technologies to evolve its news feed.

Facebook unveiled a redesigned news feed Thursday at its global headquarters in Menlo Park, California that will feature visual content more prominently, and streamline the user experience across all devices.

The latest iteration of the news feed will change in three main ways, according to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO.  The stories displayed in the news feed will be more visually engaging, customizable, and appear in the same way across all platforms.  

“What we’re trying to do is give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper that we can,” Zuckerberg told reporters at Facebook HQ.

“We believe that the best personalized newspaper should have a broad diversity of content … world renowned sources … and locally relevant updates from family and friends around you,” Zuckerberg said, describing the mission behind the product redesign.

With about a billion users at last count, the company is able to understand how people are sharing information and use that to drive innovation.  The difference in the user experience is markedly different today than it was in 2007, when news feeds were a text-rich arena.  Today about 50% of the things shared on Facebook are photos and videos, according to Zuckerberg. 

The company kept this in mind while it modernized Facebook’s user experience, according to Julie Zhuo, director of design at Facebook.

The key was “understanding what people want to share based on what people were posting, and then designing the best container to make those stories shine,” Zhuo said before revealing screenshots of the new look, which you will find attached to this article.

When the new look is unfurled to the public, photo albums and shared items will be more prominently featured with bigger thumbnails in your newsfeed. When a friend is being added by a lot of your friends, that story will contain visual elements that enable you to understand who they are in a glance and decide whether or not you want to add them too. Shared content from businesses will feature the publisher’s logo in the corner, enabling instant visual assessment of the item being shard.

The types of items that appear in the news feed will also be customizable.  Users can choose to to see only stories about events, music, or new photos in the new feed, according to Chris Struhar, tech lead at Facebook. 

“We’ve never had a feed that’s as vibrant and immersive as what you’re seeing today,” Struhar said as he described the new feed filters. “Now you have a space where you can come and see the world around you as your friends are seeing it right now,” he said.  If you want to see only stories about businesses or musicians you’ve liked, you can filter those down too.

No matter what you’ve liked, the feeds will look and feel the same on all devices, said Chris Cox, vice president of product at Facebook.

“It’s amazing how much more modern and clean this feels, because we’ve adopted design principles for mobile and adopted them for the tablet and web,” Cox said. 

The date for the new look has not yet been released.

In the meantime, look at the photos attached to this article.  Then tell us whether you like Facebook's new look in the coments. 

 

Bob Winters March 07, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Perhaps you should switch to, "Hear ye, hear ye, read all about it!" ;-)
Vanessa Castañeda March 07, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Bob, that conjures an image of a vest-clad youth on the side of the road waving a newspaper. ( :
Bob Winters March 07, 2013 at 11:00 PM
:)
fester chester March 08, 2013 at 12:01 AM
Steve, it isn't interesting to me, it's an irresponsible use of what could be a useful alert system. Vanessa - don't write off your lack of journalistic integrity or disregard for your readers to the particular decade you were probably born. "Patch readers have asked for more stories" whoa, lame excuses are lame excuses and this is certainly one of them. This just dilutes any shred of credibility the patch had to be a source of important community specific information. Breaking news alerts should be information of immediate importance to members of the community. Not that your readers should have to educate you, but anyone with an ounce of brains would know sales pitches or product introductions or modifications do not qualify as breaking alerts!. If you want to report on a company or it's products, please do it in an article! In the meantime, say hello to my spam folder patch.
Vanessa Castañeda March 08, 2013 at 12:15 AM
fester chester, thanks for your feedback. I agree with you that "breaking news" emails should only contain information about emergency situations. Clearly this situation contains an opportunity for growth. If you ever want to drop the monicker and have a face-to-face conversation about the kind of community information that's important to you, please email me. I'm always open to chatting about ways to improve our coverage of the Menlo Park-Atherton community.

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