Facebook Unveils Redesigned News Feed with a Promise of Simplicity

Facebook today announced that it has prepared a fresh and more focused News Feed for its users. The updated design will include the usual timelines, along with four new ones: All Friends, Photos, Music, and Following. With this upcoming redesign, the social network hopes to make your online experience much simpler — it wants to be the social nucleus that you’ve been waiting for.

With that promise, it has a chance to win back users who left over the privacy complications and overall clutter the site has gathered over time. Is this audacious overhaul enough?

From Basic to Convoluting

Facebook in late 2006.

Facebook in late 2006.

When Facebook began to gain traction in the digital community back in 2006 (the year it became available to all who had a verified email address), the service had an extremely minimal purpose, layout, and feature base. Even the advertisements were nothing more than basic images that flickered every now and again to get your attention. A lot has changed since the days of the original Facebook.

Facebook today.

Now the site is “modernized” with access to every single feature right on the home page, . This would have been fine if the site didn’t have so many features. There are games, apps, friends, pages, messages, chats, searches, events, photos, links, videos, and oh, don’t forget pokes. The home page of any Facebook user is so cluttered that people have began to stop using the service because it got too complicated.

I am one of those users. I deleted my account after using the service for a few weeks back in 2011 because it was a chore to do anything. Being social should never be work, it should be natural. With the way Facebook had become, I felt like I had to check everything, post images of cool stuff, always stay up-to-date with the cool kids, and keep up the wonderful stalking routine I had going. When I thought about it, I wasn’t having fun. I had all this fake pressure that stopped me from getting things done. So I dropped that and moved on.

All those apps.

All those apps.

A lot of other users have been doing the same thing lately. More and more of my friends tell me they’ve “finally” managed to delete their Facebook accounts. It’s as if it was holding them prisoner or something. So what did drive these people away? If it was the complexity, this shiny News Feed of Facebook’s may just bring back some of the lost users.

The Simplicity of Mobile

Mobile devices have a great selection of applications. If you like something that’s user-friendly, you’ll find a greater number of choices here than on any other platform because of the limited display size. Since this is so good, why not bring it to the desktop?

The new design across platforms.

The new design across platforms.The new design.

Facebook is doing just that with its upcoming News Feed. The company is reclaiming space in your browser, adding a much more beautiful way to view photos, and overall giving you a less cluttered view of things. The top navigation bar and sidebars have been combined to bring you a unified experience on the left of your screen. Apps, people, and pages will all be a click away. Search has been prioritized by taking up nearly the whole top bar. Facebook clearly hopes users will start typing into their new Graph Search for daily queries.

There's a bonus: you get the best of Google as well.

There’s a bonus: you get the best of Google as well.

The only problem with Facebook’s redesigned News Feed is that, well, it looks like Google+. If you go open a photo in Google’s social network, you’ll notice a resemblance in the new overlaid caption. Everything in the new design is so simple that it almost looks like a carbon copy of Google+’s design. Profile pictures beside posts remind you of it; the right sidebar is a horrible reminder of Google+’s own; and even that brilliant new left sidebar looks a lot like Google’s. All I personally care about is whether or not Facebook’s version lags.

But right, back to blatant copying. Google does it, Apple does it, and now Facebook is doing it. People like to copy things and make them better. That’s okay, if you do the second part. When you take one thing and forget the other — which Facebook just might do — there’s definitely a problem.

Regardless of this Google-inspired design, do you think this will sway you back to/keep you using Facebook? I personally still don’t like the service, though it is getting better and there is hope.


According to Facebook, you’ll be getting this redesigned home page in “the coming weeks”. You can add yourself to the waiting list on the News Feed page. The company is rolling things out slowly and hopes to have on your computer and mobile device in the near future.