The new Facebook

At first glance, it’s a new design which means it’s better, right? Not really. Just about everything in the new Facebook design has changed places, making it more difficult to do simple things. Evidently this new design helps it load faster. I have seen no speed improvements, and I have heard tell of it not working on Windows 98 (not that anyone uses 98 anymore.) So I present to you, a list of things that are wrong with the new Facebook:

1. More ads. Yes, I know Facebook needs ads to survive, but they are now on the right side, and stacked two high. They did add a feature where you can rate ads, so if you see an ad for, say, Facebook itself, you can vote thumbs down and put your reason as irrelevant.

2. Tabs in general. Tabs are a good concept. Firefox and Safari use tabs. But the point is to be able to change only certain elements of a page, while keeping the main interface the same. The problem I have with the Wall, Info, Photos (and whatever other tabs you have added) is that they take you to a new page. The Wall and Info tabs just change the tab content, but the Photos tab takes away all the stuff on the left side of the screen, including the profile picture. Another problem is that the tabs can’t be reordered. The Wall, Info, and Photos tabs have to be in that order. What happened to seeing someone’s info first (as in the old design) then scrolling down to see wall posts? The tabs also break the back button. Every time you click a tab, it tells your browser that you have gone to a different page. That means that when you click the back button, you go back to the last tab you had in front. Very annoying if you want to get back to the previous profile after looking through another.

3. The Wall tab. The third problem is with the Wall tab itself. It’s not only Wall posts. It’s also a news feed. It shows groups, status, and posted items, right there with the wall posts. Another problem is that the status updates are in big bold font. It is 14 pt, as opposed to the 11 pt font of the rest of the page. The Wall posts themselves are not aesthetically pleasing. They have gray backgrounds that take the width of the post. So short posts have narrower boxes than long posts. I would rather see all the gray boxes be the same width.

4. Boxes. Profile boxes used to be right there on the profile page. Now you must click on the Boxes tab to see any profile boxes. Why? Because the tab system makes it that way.

5. The bottom bar. The gray bar on the bottom of the browser window is very redundant. There are little icons for the various applications that you have. They can be dragged and reordered right on the bar. But, you can also click the word Applications, and you have the exact same list, only this time it’s (drumroll) vertical! That is very redundant. The only thing the menu adds is the Edit and Find More links. There’s actually two bottom bars, one stuck to the bottom of the screen, and one that scrolls along with the page.

Bottom bar redundancy

Bottom bar redundancy

 

 

6. Chat. I’m not even going to touch this one. I don’t use it, and I’m glad it doesn’t take more space than it needs to.

7. Top bar. More redundancy here. The facebook logo, and the word Home both take you to your News Feed. Why not just use one or the other? Your name, as well as the word Profile take you to your profile page. Again, one or the other. The search has also moved up here, to the right instead of the left as it used to be.

More redundancy in the top bar

More redundancy in the top bar

 

 

8. The right bar. The gray bar on the right when you are logged in at your homepage is a combination of the right and left bars of the classic Facebook. The left bar now contains your Applications (for a third time!) as well as Birthdays, People You May Know, and (two!) Invite Your Friends links. Not only were the contents combined, but so were the widths. The sidebar is now twice as wide as it used to be, and it feels very obtrusive.

Redundancy galore

Redundancy galore

 Speaking of People You may Know…

 

9. People You May Know. This has been a complaint since classic Facebook. I really don’t care about people I “may” know. It’s basically just people from my high school. I can find them manually by searching for classmates. I wished it would go away since before the redesign. At least then it wasn’t 320 pixels wide, though.

10. Consistency. Oddly enough, not all of Facebook has changed. The Settings page, where you can change your password and such, the Messages page (Inbox, Notifications, etc), still has the classic tabs. The login page (both flavors) still has the classic look, too.

Old style tabs here, not very consistent

Old style tabs here, not very consistent

 

Its the classic interface, but only here

Its the classic interface, but only here

And here too.

And here too.

 

 

Not everything is bad though. This is a list of the good things the new Facebook design has done.

1. Hmm…OK, so nothing comes to mind. I could say that it isn’t slower to load, nor did the transition break anything (like FMenu) but that’s not really a benefit of the new design. (Edit: FMenu is broken now. It won’t show numbers of anything, like Wall Posts or Friend Requests. Also I have to log in each time despite checking “Stay Logged in”.) It’s more like, something that could have happened but was avoided. The best way to avoid these things I described though is to never have changed Facebook in the first place.

I hope somebody from Facebook reads this, but they probably won’t. Evidently the people who hate the new layout are the minority. Evidently we were asked to vote for our favorite new design six months ago. Evidently the customer doesn’t matter. They entrapped us by never giving us an option to delete our account. Of course no one will leave, it’s impossible to do so! And where will we get our fill of drunk pictures and never ending status updates? This is why I didn’t want to join social networking in the first place.

About Edward Carlson

Film and television Director of Photography working in Los Angeles, CA.
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