Software // Social
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3/7/2014
12:06 PM
Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham
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Facebook Redesign: 4 Missed Chances

Facebook announced minor changes to the news feed, but I was hoping for much more.

Yes, Facebook just announced more tweaks to the desktop version of your news feed -- but hold the eye roll and heavy sigh: These aren't that bad.

Photos got the biggest update: Images in your news feed will span the entire width of the column. The social network also adopted a new font and darkened the background color; removed some left-side navigation options to simplify your choices; and flipped the button position in the top-right of your news feed. There are a handful of other minor changes, but they're mostly cosmetic.

Facebook said the changes, which roll out over the next few weeks, stem from last year's failed redesign and aim to improve the consistency of the desktop and mobile versions.

[Get a grip on your Facebook account. Read 10 Most Misunderstood Facebook Privacy Facts.]

"People who tested [last year's redesign] told us that they liked the bigger photos and images, but found it more difficult to navigate Facebook overall," it said. "This updated design has the best of both worlds: it keeps the layout and navigation people liked, but offers bigger images and photos, as well as a new font."

While this round of changes pales in comparison to other redesigns, I'm hoping for more next time. Here are my most-wanted features for Facebook's next iteration. What would you want to see?

1. Favorited posts
Twitter has borrowed plenty of design concepts and features from Facebook over the years. One Twitter feature that could benefit Facebook users is a Favorite button. On Twitter, it functions as a bookmarking feature and displays your favorite tweets in a separate tab in your profile.

A Facebook Favorite button would work similarly: Facebook would display those posts in a separate tab on your profile and adhere to your and your friends' privacy settings. This would make it easier to find something a friend posted months or years ago.

As Facebook continues to emphasize content, it could also function as a bookmarking service -- you could mark favorite the stories you want to read later and remove them when you're done.

2. Search your timeline
Facebook's Graph Search does a good job of resurfacing some types of information, such as "friends who live near San Francisco" or "restaurants near Tampa." But it doesn't help you in situations where a friend asks you to send her that link you shared a couple months ago. You could scroll through your posts month by month, but that's a waste of time. Instead, a keyword search of your profile -- and your friends' profiles -- would be ideal in helping you find content from weeks, months, or years ago.

3. Easier untagging on mobile
You get an alert on your phone that says a friend tagged you in five photos. They're unflattering, to say the least, and you want to untag them ASAP. The problem: In Facebook mobile apps, you must navigate a maze of menus to find the untagging feature. On the web-based version, it's not much easier, requiring four steps. A simple button that appears on photos you're tagged in would make this situation much easier.

4. More ways to filter your news feed
Facebook's botched news feed redesign from last year was on-point with its filter execution: The buttons would have let you filter news feed posts by a robust set of options including photos, music, pages you follow, games, group news, friends, and more. While there are ways you can customize what you see in your own news feed now, you must set up lists first. It's tedious to curate and manage these lists.

Facebook tweaked its algorithm a number of times in the last year to perfect how it shows you content. The result: Users are consistently annoyed that Facebook thinks it knows your interests better than you do. More filtering options would help us perfect our own news feed, improve satisfaction, and -- a bonus for Facebook -- help it better target ads.

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Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
3/13/2014 | 6:24:32 AM
Re : Facebook Redesign: 4 Missed Chances
"Facebook thinks it knows your interests better than you do." That seems to be the case exactly. Instead of trying their own creativity or designing sense, programmers at Facebook should try to understand what users want. If they are really that isolated from what users want, its time they conducted some kind of poll to find out what users want to have in their profiles.
Madhava verma dantuluri
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Madhava verma dantuluri,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/11/2014 | 11:24:29 PM
Good list
Thats very good list of features you mentioned here and wish FB considers them down the lane.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
3/11/2014 | 1:56:21 PM
Re: Facebook Redesign: 4 Missed Chances
I am in with you people on newsfeed filtering. We could call it searchability may be? Whatever may be the suitable word, everyone would like to have in front of him by just entering a couple of words instead of scrolling down profiles because of the way it is now. It has to be as simple as searching anything on the web.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
3/7/2014 | 3:55:27 PM
Re: Photos
That happens to me, too. I can understand their reasoning -- since more people are accessing the site on mobile instead of desktop, real estate is that much more important on smaller screens. I'm okay with photos filling the width of a phone screen, though if it starts filling the length of the screen -- that's a problem. I do agree that the pictures on tablets take up too much space, especially since the resolution of the image isn't always ideal for that size screen.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
3/7/2014 | 3:52:32 PM
Re: What do you want?
I'm with you on wanting to be able to customize filtering of my news feed.
Jim Donahue
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Jim Donahue,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2014 | 3:33:32 PM
Photos
Am I the only person annoyed by the tendency toward GIGANTIC photos on web pages, including Facebook--especially on tablets? I find I keep trying to swipe up to move down a page and instead I end up going directly to a photo that I landed on by accident.


Not that I want photos to be tiny--but when they eat up 90% of the screen, it  bugs me.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
3/7/2014 | 3:22:31 PM
Re: one more idea
This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I also prefer to sort my feed by "Most Recent" instead of "Top Stories" and it drives me crazy when it reverts to the latter -- both on mobile and desktop versions.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
3/7/2014 | 3:13:26 PM
Keyword Search
Your example re. keyword search is on the money, Kristin. Doesn't seem like it would be hard to do, either.
6 one way half a dozen another
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6 one way half a dozen another,
User Rank: Strategist
3/7/2014 | 1:36:02 PM
one more idea
When a user chooses to sort updates by most recent, this stays the default unless otherwise changed by that user. I prefer to see posts in that manner and it annoying as all get out to have that setting constantly overridden by Facebook. If anything ruins the experience on Facebook, it is, as you said, Facebook deciding that they know better than us what we want.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
3/7/2014 | 1:30:27 PM
What do you want?
What's on your Facebook wishlist? Features you want it to retire?
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