Facebook is revamping its most-used feature: its News Feed, making its design more image-focused and mobile-friendly, while providing more ways for people to access specific types of content.
The problem Facebook is facing is that more content than ever is flooding its News Feed. That’s because people have more friends, while following more businesses and famous people on Facebook–who are all posting more content. The new specific feeds announced today allow people to see just content from real-life friends (not businesses or celebrities), photos, music content or businesses and celebrities. This will help people to see content that is older that they may have missed, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
Unlike Twitter, which focuses on real-time content, Facebook is the place where people go to keep in touch with family and friends, regardless of when the news happens.
Facebook also redesigned its site and navigation to make it more consistent and mobile-centric. The design includes an emphasis on larger photos and images in the News Feed. The person or business who posts an event is now represented by their photos on the left side of the content. The result is a much more image-heavy design, which is what people want, Facebook says.
See the live blog here: We’re live at Facebook for the social network’s expected News Feed announcement. The company is expected to announce changes to one of its main products, the stream of content that its one billion users interact with on a regular basis. TechCrunch previously reported that the company plans to launch new content-specific feeds and new photo views.
Zuckerberg takes the stage: “What we’re trying to do is give everyone the best personalized newspaper.” The best newspapers should be visual and rich. We’re talking about a new design today, he says. He shows an early version of the News Feed from 2007. Our goal was different from what any other social service was going to provide, he says. “There’s a special place in the world for this personalized newspaper.”
Composition of News Feed: The News Feed was mainly text early on with status updates, but now it’s primarily about visual content. Almost 50% of content now is visual on the feed. We think of News Feed as friend posts but now almost 30% of content is from famous people and Facebook Pages, Zuckerberg says.
There are three main changes in the new design: rich visual stories, your choice of specific feeds, and a mobile-inspired consistent user interface design across all mobile devices and the desktop.
Zuck hands it off to head of design Julie Zhou to describe the new design. Zhou is showing a new display of larger photos in the News Feed.
New Visual Design: There’s a new banner in the News Feed for when someone adds a friend or “likes” a page. Instead of just seeing “Joe has added Jim as a friend” in text, there will now be photos of them. That’s the overall idea to add photos or graphics for essentially all News Feed content. The new display of Facebook check-ins shows maps of where the person was. And third party apps in News Feed are also revamped: A Vimeo update shows larger videos along with photos of the people tagged in the video. An NPR update shows the most shared stores on NPR. You can also see news about people such as Taylor Swift “I’m a big fan of Taylor Swift, I’m not afraid to admit it,” Zhou says. Really?
Specific News Feeds: As expected, you can see specific types of content in the Feed. There is a list of the feeds on the right side of the website and the top of the mobile device. The feeds are organized by which you use most often.
There’s a new All Friends feed to just see posts from friends. A music feed shows what my favorite musicians are posting and what my friends are listening to, says Chris Struhar, tech lead on News Feed. There’s also a feed just for photos. And just like the friends feed, there’s also a “following” feed for famous people, businesses, news outlet or sports teams. This feed is in chronological order so that for example news outlets can get all their content seen. The close friends and games feeds remain the same.
Consistent mobile inspired Design: The company has taken the design from mobile to desktop, Facebook’s Chris Cox explains. Even typeface, color as well as navigation are similar now. There’s a new “tray” on the left side of web or mobile Facebook. So now you can get to any page on Facebook without going through the Home Page.
The new design is rolling out on the web today. It will appear on phones and tablets in the coming weeks.
Question time: How will this affect ads? The new design will apply to advertisements on the News Feed as well.
Is the News Feed algorithm changing? The algorithm is not changing. But we’re adding new sections like a newspaper.
How much will the new design be used? People are seeing a lot of content in their feed. This helps sort through it all, Cox says.
Why this change now? There’s a lot more content and users. People don’t have 80 friends anymore, Cox says.
How will this affect Facebook Pages? Pages publish content and the “following” feed will show them. But this won’t change Pages.
How will this Music feed work? Upcoming shows from musicians and other posts from musicians will be included.