Last night Facebook pushed out the new homepage which we’ve been hearing about over the past few weeks and initial responses are mixed. Some users have called this a improvement, to the news feed whereas developers are not as happy as their feed traffic is down dramatically (some developers have told us they’ve seen a 75 percent decrease in traffic).
What Has Changed
The new Facebook homepage is similar to the previous version but now the default feed only shows highlights. While it now helps users find those stories which are most relevant to them, it also filters through many more. That’s why there’s also a live feed version. In a post yesterday, Raylene Yung outlined the new changes:
After hearing feedback from many of you and exploring some new designs, we decided with today’s changes to move what you used to see in Highlights from the right-hand side to the News Feed view in the main column so you can more easily engage with both views.
We also added information back to News Feed that many of you have asked for, including when your friends have been tagged in photos or have become fans of Pages, in addition to when they RSVP for events or join groups and make new friends. We also made birthdays and events more visible in the right column of the home page.
Users Have Mixed Reviews
Some users are loving the new homepage design as it emphasizes those stories which are most important. As someone who has a large number of friends on the site, I can say that I am actually a huge fan of the new design. However a large percentage of the users we asked on our Facebook Page told us that they preferred the last version of the homepage.
However the vast majority of users were not able to articulate a good reason for going back to the old design. That’s why I would count them among the users who should join the group “I AUTOMATICALLY HATE THE NEW FACEBOOK HOME PAGE“. One possible change by Facebook would be to enable users to select which stream they’d like to view by default: filtered or unfiltered.
For now, users will be forced to accept the filtered version by default.
Developers Hate It
Facebook developers are definitely not happy to say the least. Every developer I’ve spoken to have called this redesign an absolute disaster. The reason is that traffic is down for just about every application on the platform. I’d expect to see decelerated growth across the entire platform as a result of these new changes. This new change illustrates just how dependent developers are on Facebook for continued growth.
We’ll be tracking the impact over the coming days and weeks but this will most definitely reduce the growth of applications across the board. While users may enjoy a less cluttered feed, developers will always have a preference toward unfiltered distribution.
After playing with the news feed for a longer period of time, I realized that once you select the “Live Feed” it will stay there until you switch back to the “News Feed”. That means this overhaul shouldn’t really be something to complain about since you can technically make the live stream your default feed.