Honestly, what’s the first thing you do when you open your phone every day? Of course, you open Facebook because it’s where your social life starts. Facebook has always been very iterative with their design and the amount they invest in making sure that every single design choice they make has meaning, is just astounding.
Did you know that Facebook has spent a whopping 280 hours on a feature as simple as the “Like” button? This was revealed in 2014 in a TEDTalk by Margaret Gould Stewart, who was then Facebook’s director of product design. This shows us that User Experience is of prime importance to Facebook. Other tech-giants are also willing to put in a lot of time and effort in user experience and design to make sure they maintain active and happy users.
And finally they have done it again, Facebook has recently introduced a new layout design (that they announced last year) that pretty much changes and improves everything. You may wonder where this design is and the reason you might’ve missed it is because it isn’t the default setting yet.
How to switch on the New Facebook?
To access it, you have to click on the downward-facing arrow on the top right corner of your Facebook Profile and click on the second-last button which says “Switch to New Facebook”
If this is your first time using this link, This will probably be the screen you see.
From here, we see that Facebook has introduced 3 new things:
- A dark mode (something that’s very trending these days)
- Faster loading times
- A bigger and cleaner layout
Clicking ‘Next’ on that button will move you to a new screen that lets you choose your background theme between ‘light’ and ‘dark’.
At first, it feels a bit disappointing to switch to the new design because Facebook doesn’t give you a walkthrough of what exactly have they added or removed in this new layout. Luckily, its easy to switch back and you can use the same downward arrow on top-right of your Facebook profile to “Switch to Classic Facebook”
There’s no denying that the changes are drastic and everything feels different. The immediate differences that you can spot are:
- The scrollable newsfeed has been moved to the center
- The sides have gotten more noticeable by becoming a bit wider
- Things are much less cluttered
- The search bar has been moved a bit more to the top left corner
Some inspiration from the mobile app
While the sleekness is evidently inspired by the mobile app, the top of the screen has some drastic changes.
On the mobile app, you can swipe left and right to change how you want to view your feed. You can have ‘Watch’ enabled to stick to video content and find friends in the same manner.
On the redesign, you’re given the choice between 4 newsfeeds: Home, Watch, Group-related, and Gaming.
Clicking on Watch changed the layout to support a larger video player and pulled everything else to the sides. Messenger also collapses and only a chat bubble, like the one from the mobile app, stays and doesn’t clutter up the screen when it’s closed.
The Watch Tab is something that most users feel conflicted about. It has existed for a while, as Facebook is trying to lure more and more people to Facebook Watch from YouTube but we think it might not be as organized and effective so maybe having the Facebook Watch tab on desktop won’t make much of a difference and it will remain a ghost town.
The Gaming section is also something relatively new and in this new design, it seems like it has gotten some prominence. When you click that, a video window bigger than the Watch appears and plays some live stream and while we are not really sure how it picks and chooses what video to show, in our testing we were shown a live stream of Fortnite.
There are options to view games by name, you can also open up a specific channel’s feed and whatnot. There are tonnes of things to explore here and it definitely is something new that Facebook has put at the center.
Facebook Stories – They look better than ever
Personally we are not huge fans of Stories and have never really tried to upload or view Facebook Stories, especially on Desktop. But with this new design, the stories are a bit more prominent and not in an irritating way either.
There’s an arrow on the last story that opens up a whole interface dedicated to viewing stories with ease. There’s also a button to add stories yourself but for now, it’s disabled in the beta version.
Overall, we love the new Facebook Design
Even though there wasn’t a tutorial available that could explain everything new, the design itself says what’s new and what isn’t. The highlights of the redesign are carefully positioned and they stand out themselves. Once you get a feel for where everything is, you can’t help but click around and view things yourself.
With a design that doesn’t hide anything you previously used before and opens up new ways to use the application, we would recommend everyone to give it a go. Facebook also takes feedback very seriously and they ask you to fill a small survey at the end of the usage in which you can tell them if anything ticked you off.
There have been some redesigns in the past that weren’t the best, but we will have to stick with this one for now and see how we adjust to it once they bring this design out of beta and into production.