Facebook Gets Facelift

Dennis Faas's picture

Facebook has unveiled a new look for profile pages in an effort to avoid the clutter that some analysts say hurts rival social networking site MySpace. The main change, which will take effect next month, is that pages will be reorganised into four tabbed 'folders' rather than having all the information in one long and unruly list.

The four folders are:

  • Feed, which will be the page that appears by default. This contains all the updates relevant to that person such as adding new friends, changing status updates or being tagged in a photograph.
  • Info, which has all the profile details such as date of birth, contact details and location.
  • Photo, which will contain all pictures taken by or featuring the person concerned.
  • Applications, which has all the tools the person has added such as the popular Scrabulous word game.

According to Facebook management, having a separate tab for applications will not only make profiles cleaner, but it will also encourage developers to make more useful tools. The idea is that when people actually use an application, it will be mentioned on their main feed page. This means that the tools which get used the most will also get the most publicity, while those where the novelty wears off will fade away quicker.

There will also be an option to add a fifth tab which the user can customise, for example to highlight their favourite applications. (Source: cnet.com)

It's thought the site is aiming to avoid falling into the same trap that affected its competitor: it seems a lot of MySpace users stopped visiting that site because pages had too much information on display and were so messy they became unattractive.

The Facebook revamp may be nipping a similar problem in the bud: figures from online researchers Nielsen show the number of people visiting Facebook actually fell by about 10% between March and April. (Source: nytimes.com)

The big question is how users will respond. It's inevitable that many will be uncomfortable at first because the site feels unfamiliar. But as the success of Google and Wikipedia has shown, the surfing public does seem to prefer cleaner web pages that make it easier to carry out common tasks without being distracted by excessive detail.

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