Facebook celebrated it’s 6th birthday in style…by launching a redesign of the home page. I was excited to be included in the initial 80 million accounts that were updated with the design on February 4th. This new layout is being rolled out to the remaining Facebook users now (Reggie’s still waiting).
I have to say I’ve been a bit annoyed with some of the recent minor changes made by Facebook, but when it comes to this new overhaul…I’m a fan! Most notably, are the cleaner home page appearance and the removal of the bottom “start” bar. The search bar is now prominently displayed in the top center of the home page, just above the News Feed. And the top blue navigation bar has been simplified to include just a few key quick launch links on the left and right sides.
Now just in case you are a tad turned around by this new layout, I put together a quick list of 10 tips for getting reacquainted with the network you know and love!
(1) Quick Launch Notifications – Located in the upper left, gain quick access to your most recent notifications. I’ve been using and enjoying the notifications feature more and more lately. I find it helpful in keeping track of who’s interacting with me, as well as to easily navigate back to conversations I’m participating in.
(2) Quick Launch Friend Request – Now the old “friend requests” link is still available in the upper right. But this new quick launch button in the upper left provides a drop down menu to scan recent friend requests. You can also click through to your “friend request dashboard” for a full view.
(3) Quick Launch Messages – The “inbox” link has been removed from the navigation bar. Now you can access your messages 2 ways from the home page. Either select “messages” from the left sidebar navigation or my preferred channel…the new messages quick button in the upper left. A simplified drop down menu will appear, allowing you to scan your recent messages, respond back, and even quickly send a new message.
(4) Left Sidebar Navigation – The removal of the bottom navigation bar (or start bar) was a good move! I don’t know about you, but I rarely used it. Now, we have a more organized left sidebar to navigate events, photos, friends, games, applications, ads & pages, groups, marketplace, etc.
(5) Friend Filtering – Upon first glance you might miss noticing where to access and navigate “lists” you created to filter your friends in the New Feed. This is probably one of the most important features Facebook offers as it provides an organized and consistent approach to engaging with key friends in your network. To filter the News Feed via your lists, select the “Friends” link in the left sidebar and the “Friends” dashboard will appear. You will then be able to select from your created friend lists in the left sidebar under the main “Friends” heading.
(6) Applications & Games Dashboards – You can select and view these new dashboards from the left sidebar. Both provide an overview of your friends’ recent game and/or application activity. This is nice new way to see and connect with other friends playing the same game, or better yet, who is utilizing an app that you may also find helpful.
(7) Revised Chat – Now moved to the left, similar in functionality and a right bottom bar remains to keep the conversation flowing.
(8) Simplified News Feed – Well, it’s actually pretty similar to it’s predecessor, but the options have been more clearly stated: “Top News” and “Most Recent”.
(9) Updated Account Menu – Still a link in the upper right, but the menu of options has been expanded to include “Edit Friends”, “Credits Balance”, and “Logout” in addition to the various privacy, account, and application settings.
(10) Rebuilt Photo Uploader – Next time you upload a photo, you’ll not only have the option to browse from your computer (which by the way provides a more robust navigation interface) but you’ll also be able to create and use a custom email for uploading (similar to Posterous).
MyTechOpinion – I give the new Facebook layout 2 thumbs up! After playing around with it for a few days, I’m impressed with the quicker speed at which I can interact, message, and share. And, the home page interface is much cleaner without the cluttering of repetitive feature links and bars. But that’s my opinion…what’s yours?