No matter what your opinions are on Mark Zuckerberg, it’s difficult to deny that Facebook is an incredible service. The website has found its way into the vocabulary of just about every person on the planet, by offering an easy way to connect with friends. Whether or not you enjoy the service, is usually down to the friends you have and what they share.
Facebook boasts over a billion users, which is simply incredible. There isn’t anything like it, and I doubt there will be for a long, long time. With such a tight hold on the media, popular culture and a large chunk of the Earth’s population, it leaves us wondering why the company has waited until now to deliver a website design worthy of it’s success.
Let me begin by saying, I’m not Facebook’s biggest fan. I’ve been using it since around 2008, and used it as part of my daily life, taking advantages of all of its features. Now, although I do always have it open in a tab, I usually just use it to communicate through the messenger service and to see what photos I have been tagged in recently. Timeline got me interested in sharing detailed content every day again for a brief period last year, but ultimately I got tired of using the very bland design of News Feed, and made Twitter and Google+ my priority.
Despite the significantly lower active user count on Google+ compared to Facebook, I find myself drawn to it for the reason that, for the most part, it’s beautiful. I’ve been using it since the invite-only stages, and since then the style has changed quite a bit. However, due to the amazing team Google have on board to design their services, it’s always been an incredible looking social network.
For those that missed it, yesterday Facebook revealed a new design for the news feed, which says ‘Goodbye to clutter’. Although there will inevitably be several groups begging for Facebook to change the design back, I’m sure most people with an eye for web design and usability will agree that Facebook have done a very good job with this design, especially when you compare it to the design that we have been forced to use for the past couple of years.
There many nice touches added to the latest design of Facebook. A personal favourite of mine, is the decision to have the description of a photo within the photo, instead of breaking it away. This means the photo can be a lot bigger on the news feed, without taking up a lot more space.
It’s noticeable from first glance that the revamp has been inspired by mobile. The desktop site now has an expandable sidebar on the left side, which contains the apps and messenger contacts.
After reading all the new features, you’ll soon start to notice what Facebook have tried to do. Finally listening to the complaints of users over the past few years, the company has tried to make use of the huge amounts of white space, which used to plague the design. Thankfully, this has been achieved.
googlE+ and facebook, who’s copying who?
A couple of days ago, Google updated the design of of user profiles on Google+. The change meant that users could have an even bigger cover photo, which could then have the user’s information within it. When cover photos first arrived on Google+, there were a few who accused the service of copying Facebook, and the small redesign this week prompted the same accusations. For many people, Google+ were copying Facebook.
With today’s release of the new Facebook design, the accusations have returned, however this time pointed in the opposite direction. The slightly rounded edges of status boxes, larger viewing pane for photos in the news feed and an all-round cleaner look has suddenly made Facebook look a lot like Google+.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say the two are copying off each other, but they’re definitely taking ideas. To be honest, it would be silly not to. Of course Facebook are going to take notes from Google+, a social network which has sported an incredible design since day one. On the other side, Google+ would love to have a user base the one belonging to Facebook, so it’s only natural that they are going to take some ideas, even if it’s just to make new users feel comfortable.
Facebook are rolling out the new design over the next few weeks, and you can sign up for the waiting list to get it slightly before everybody else. Personally, I’m extremely excited to try it out. I really want an excuse to get back into using Facebook as part of my daily life, and I’m hoping this is it.