Facebook Members Give New Layout Thumbs Down

By  |  Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Facebook LogoFacebook’s new, more Twitter-like interface is overwhelmingly unpopular with users, according to a Facebook application that is polling Facebook users on their feelings about the site’s layout changes. Today, the application’s reported results had just over 5% of the nearly 800,000 respondents approving of the changes. While the poll is far from being scientific, its results are still telling.

Like many of you, I’ve seen my friends complaining the new layout. Some of their gripes focus on how Facebook is mirroring Twitter.

Today one wrote, “I joined twitter and lost interest like *that*. I’m supremely narcissistic in thinking you all care about my whereabouts and status updates all day, but the new layout feels like that’s all Facebook is focusing on now… that functionality existed before the change, but it also allowed me to see wall comments, videos, pics and notes more easily. hatin’ it…”

I have to agree with that assessment. The only major change that I thought Facebook needed was to become more intuitive for the average user. Features like wall comments, videos, pictures and notes differentiate Facebook from Twitter and make it more interesting.

Don’t get me wrong –Facebook’s willingness to change is a good thing. I stopped using Friendster and MySpace because they became stagnant, and Facebook was a better alternative. Facebook’s inclusion of the events stream into its last layout was a good idea, and I started to visit the site more frequently throughout the day–even through my iPhone.

However, Facebook moved too far in Twitter’s direction, and lost some of what makes it unique in the process. It should listen to its customers and make some tweaks to the layout to keep them happy. What do you think?


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13 Comments For This Post

  1. Steven Fisher Says:

    I like the new layout. Of course, I’m not about to add a third party application to vote for it. With this kind of ridiculous polling system, it’s no surprise that people who bother voting generally hate it.

  2. Corrine Says:

    Not only did Facebook become more like Twitter, but now it appears Twitter will become more like a blog with premium accounts.

    Twitter Unveils New Premium Accounts

  3. David Worthington Says:

    What do you like about it?

  4. Steven Fisher Says:

    What do I like about it? I do everything one way now, and Facebook just sorts it out. Likewise, I have only one place to go to see everything I care about.

    I have been blocking and voting down third party application spam since it came out, though… is this new layout showing all of it by default?

  5. Kim Price Says:

    I really really hate it. I want to feel free to post whatever is on my mind or heck, take endless tests all day if I want, but I don’t want to jam this info down my friends’ throats or clog up their feeds with it.

    I loved Facebook logged on many times everyday, but now feel very hesitant about making any post and will pretty much quit using it if this change stays.

    The charm of Facebook was that it was passive. If people wanted information about me, they knew where to find it and could control how much information about me they saw. But now I control how much information they see about me and don’t feel comfortable making that decision for them.

    It is kind of like showing up for dinner at their house uninvited. They may really want to have me over for dinner, or not, but it is up to them to ask. I could even say “I’d like to get together sometime” and tell them when I am available, but no matter how much they wanted to have dinner with me, if I showed up uninvited, they would be pissed because it is just plain rude and arrogant.

  6. Gary Barnes Says:

    I dislike it. Its not the layout per se — its the content.

    Before, I could easily see the stuff I was interested in, and easily filter out things I was less interested in. I didn’t have my feed full of “X took a quiz and here’s the 200 word boilerplate text that resulted”. I could filter and prioritise things in a nuanced way.

    Now, I have a feed that is mostly not of interest, and a ‘highlights’ section that has nothing to do with what I want to read. And no way to adjust it, other than binary filters based on friends lists.

    Kim Price’s characterisation of it as ‘showing up for dinner uninvited’ is spot on.

  7. dale johnson Says:

    I agree with Gary/Kim. Its not what i see its the filtering. I used to have good filtering, now i see everything and i cant choose what i dont like.

  8. Michael Buhman Says:

    I’m certainly not a fan. I’ve been with Facebook since close to the beginning, and this is by far my least favorite redesign. My gripes focus mainly on the new Feed, and how you can no longer view a variety of content within it. Statuses have always been more of an annoyance than an enjoyment to me (I can only take so many “so bored lol” updates each day), and to be force-fed hundreds every time I log onto Facebook is most certainly not a pleasure.

  9. Simon Says:

    I kind of like it as I enjoy twitter. I see it as Twitter plus photos, videos and other stuff that facebook has. It is more focused on what social networking is, communicating with your friends. It allows you to easily respond to status upadtes and post stuff on your wall and others walls.

    I like it

  10. Gary Barnes Says:

    Interesting that some people, eg Simon , find “It is more focused on what social networking is, communicating with your friends. It allows you to easily respond to status updates and post stuff on your wall and others walls.” For me, the loss of its social networking-ness is precisely the problem. It now stops me interacting with others I want to, because I can no longer see any of the relevant stuff among the tsunami of drivel. Whereas before, I could. It has become a one-way communication: people just spurt stuff onto my page, and apparently I do the same. Neither of us has control over what we see, so we don’t see each others stuff, so we don’t interact with it. We see plenty of “XXX took another quiz and here is the boilerplate result”.

    So there must be some fundamental differences in the way we use facebook: the kinds of groups of friends we want to interact with; what aspects we want to have priority; and in what timeframe.

    For me, the last few days when I log on to facebook, there is nothing to keep me there. Whereas before, I was happy to spend half an hour a day linking up with people.

    Perhaps its the difference between people who are watching facebook all day, versus people with jobs that do not involve this?

  11. Josh Rose Says:

    I still prefer the original layout (of two layouts ago). On one hand, I’m glad they switched to the new layout because the one before this was aggravatingly difficult to find information on. I would get email updates mentioning a new note, or wall post, or comment and rather than clicking on the link provided (best practice!) I would go directly to Facebook…and then not be able to find this information. So, the all-purpose feed sounds like a good idea from the previous layout, but it’s equally navigating. What’s wrong with just having tabs at the top that clearly itemizes my information? I mean, surely they can aggregate and cross-pollinate the information between these silos if a user wishes to see how a note my relate to a user, etc.

  12. RJ Says:

    I really hate it. I can’t adjust people out who are twitter lifecasters and have connected themselves to my facebook. Its lost all utility for me. I’m definitely checking it less. The best info (pics, relationship status, etc) in now being drowned out by people who write “I like my meal” seven times a day.

  13. abifoluwa Says:

    i just hate everything about the new layout,it just too bad,i log in to fbk formerly almost everyday since years ago,but now i don’t just feel like,when u post comment on ur friends wall,it ends up on he homepage.they should focus on returning the former layout,than deciding.this is just too bad,as young as i am.i can compare my little site with facebook.too bad

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