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Full Details On Facebook’s Overhauled Profile Pages

December 5th, 2010 12:38 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Earlier today 60 minutes gave a bit of a preview of its interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and VP Product Chris Cox. The video shows a glimpse of a redesigned profile page — a big deal given that these profiles are really core to the social network. Well, we’ve got the full rundown on what’s new and what’s changing. Read on.

There are two big themes to the revamped design: a bigger emphasis on keeping things visually interesting, and streamlining the design to make it easier to find information people actually care about. Facebook Product Manager Peter Deng explains that on the old profiles, some of the most popular features and information has been a pain to find — the ‘View more photos’ link, for example, is immesely popular, but it’s been nestled between far less important links for years.

So it makes sense that first things you’ll notice on the new profile pages involve major layout changes. Your vital stats — birthday, employer, current city and the all-important relationship status — are now featured at the top of the page. A photo stream appears just below it, showcasing a handful of the photographs you’ve most recently been tagged in (you can choose to ‘hide’ a photo that you don’t want to have in your stream, so there’s so flexibility with what shows up here).

Navigation is now taking place directly below the profile photo making profiles look more similar to Place pages — we reported that this was coming back in October. Most of these tabs are self explanatory: clicking ‘Questions’ will bring up that application, the photos tab brings up your photo albums and albums you’ve been tagged in (now with infinite scroll!) and so on.

The biggest change to these tab apps involves ‘Info’. This now looks totally different, with the dozens of text links previously visible on your Info tab converted to images whenever possible, giving you a more visual overview of the person.

Fortunately, you don’t have to tell the world you’re an avid fan of cheesy rock band The Darkness as soon as they hit your profile page — you get to manually sort which interests will appear as images, and which are hidden (though still accessible) under the ‘more’ tab.

Other big changes to the Info tab: there are a handful of new categories that you can add interests to, including Philosophy and Sports. You can now more granularly describe your employer by adding Projects, and you can tag other friends who you’ve either worked with or done an activity with, the same way you do with photo tagging.

The ‘Friends’ tab has also gotten an overhaul. Click it, and you’ll now see a more attractive grid of your friends’ faces alongside a search box.

Moving down the profile page, you’ll see the last big change: you can now feature friend lists on your profile page. This comes with some default lists — you’ll see your Significant Other highlighted here (if you have one), and any family members you have on Facebook. But you can also create custom lists of your own that you want to show off to other users. This will inevitably lead to the creation of ‘Top Friends’ lists, which users have wanted for ages, and will doubtless be the cause of plenty of teenage angst.

Some other smaller changes: Messages and Pokes are now more prominently features toward the top of the page. And there’s a link to your ‘friendship page’ featured on the right side of the screen as well (this feature was recently released, and was harder to find).

Another very important change involves how how Facebook is rolling the revamped profile changes out. The new version will be showcased during tonight’s 60 Minutes episode, but unlike most of Facebook’s previous feature releases, users are not being forced to start using the revamped site immediately. Instead, Facebook is taking a similar approach to the one Twitter used for ‘New Twitter’: it’s letting people opt in.

Facebook will be asking users if they’d like to upgrade to the new profile page, but they won’t have to do it immediately. The company isn’t saying how much time will pass before everyone will be forced to make the switch (they say it will likely be on the order of weeks, but that other factors could affect that).

The second interesting thing about the rollout is the new ‘wizard’ that users will see immediately after activating their new profiles. Using some nifty popup and fade effects, Facebook will walk you through a handful of steps highlighting the major changes to profile — the new photo stream, menu layout, and so on. The process only takes a minute or two to complete, but it’s definitely a big improvement over some of Facebook’s past rollouts.

Both of these features are obviously intended to help reduce user confusion — which is important given that profile pages haven’t changed much in years. And it may help Facebook avoid some of the inevitable backlash that it gets every time it changes anything on the site.


Source: Full Details On Facebook’s Overhauled Profile Pages

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