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Facebookers Sneak a Peek at Profile Page Makeover Specs

By Erika Morphy
May 22, 2008 1:35 PM PT

Facebook is introducing a tabbed interface as part of its ongoing effort to keep its profile page fresh-looking and streamlined, in contrast with many other social networking sites.

Facebookers Sneak a Peek at Profile Page Makeover Specs

This latest change, which is currently in beta, will introduce separate tabs for a personal news feed, photos, applications and information. The company designed these sub-pages to make adding content easier for users, it said.

Facebook has been tweaking its application for some time. These changes, though, will represent probably the biggest makeover the social networking site has undergone. Both users -- and the developers that target them in Facebook -- will have much to get used to.

A Smooth Ride

The user community will no doubt make the change smoothly. Facebook fans identify with its more sophisticated, cleaner layouts and fast load times when compared with rival MySpace, Molly A. Metzger, an innovation consultant with the digital advertising firm Resource Interactive, told TechNewsWorld.

"Facebook leans more towards lifestyle and connections, while MySpace is more about creativity and self-expression. The changes proposed are supportive of these brand truths, and I believe users will, in time, embrace them," she said.

For instance, the new personal news feeds and customizable pages will make it easier to get a message across the users' demographics, Paul Peixoto founder and president of The Serra Group, a professional development training company that used Facebook as a marketing and social networking tool, told TechNewsWorld, adding, "I am looking forward to the changes."

Developers, though, may find it harder to adjust, depending on how dominant their footprint is in the current environment. Ultimately, though, the changes are expected to provide more freedom for them.

The combination of the news feed stories and users writing content that can also encompass topics about applications is fantastic, Bill Eager, cofounder of bSocial Networks and the developer of the Market Lodge application, told TechNewsWorld. "Since Market Lodge empowers users to share and comment on products that they like with their social network, this functionality fits into that model perfectly."

Easy Navigation

Navigation will be easier for the new site, which also means more opportunity to expand design techniques, Jeff Kirschner, creative director and cofounder of Razz, a photo-sharing community that provides audio enhancement to photos via their Talking Photos Facebook app, told TechNewsWorld.

"One key benefit of the new tabbed interface is that it should alleviate endless scrolling," he commented. "Currently, one may have to scroll down -- way below the fold -- in order to see a user's profile. With tabs, the profile's framework becomes much more digestible, thereby giving a user more control.

"For developers, this will give the most engaging and relevant applications prime placement," Kirschner said.

The way Facebook has positioned the tabs allows for an easy transition between content types on a single page, Shawn Livermore, CEO of Jaudible.com, a new media content creation company, told TechNewsWorld. "They let the user flow naturally through the various types of data being faithfully delivered by the content gods at Facebook."

Developers, though, will have to modify their applications to be picked out of the vertical menu list over another application, he added. "Most of the flow of information will help -- not hurt -- and developers will find yet another way to jam more of their application content and products into one screen."

"Another benefit to the new design is that it can be replicated into your Facebook applications smoothly and allow the applications to provide more features while staying within the marginal and looser format of the tabbed content. This means more pictures, more videos, more text, etc.," Livermore noted.

Ultimately, content-based applications are likely "to rule the Facebook universe, providing more bang for the buck when it comes to content payoff per pixel," he concluded.

"I think the application developers that want to focus on the big picture -- and not one-off applications -- will be the happiest with these changes," Lycos Vice President Chuck Ball told TechNewsWorld.


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