Perhaps you heard about the Facebook phone this week, well we’re not here to talk about chat heads, or Facebook Home today. Though we will soon.
Today, we’re going to review three fundamental user experience changes that are coming to Facebook this year. In short, they include the following…
- Graph Search
- Threaded Comments
Graph Search – Your social data uncovered
What is graph search, and why do I care? Graph search is Facebook’s search engine of user profile data. In all fairness, they would likely suggest it is a search engine of the entire social graph – your profile info., page info as well as like button and other off-site user activity. However you define it, Graph Search is poised to shake things up.
Graph Search is not meant to be a Google search replacement (in the short term). It is a different kind of search. Today it is a potentially confusing tool. Users have noted the strangeness in the areas of both the search functions and structure, as well as question the usefulness of the information available by the service. There is much yet to be discovered by Facebook and it’s users around the potential for Graph Search.
Graph Search has something to provide both advertisers and users. By including Facebook’s Nearby Places service, the social network looks to create more local reviews of businesses from users within a close geographic proximity. Incentive programs, useful information and the opportunity to champion a new area of the online space makes Graph Search + Nearby Places an enticing offer for local businesses and online marketers alike.
Once more test cases prove out; once more sharpness in the system arrives, Graph Search will fundamentally change the Facebook user experience.
Newsfeed – Unifying the experience with a mobile lead
Newsfeed is a unification of the experience with a heavy mobile lead. It will, predictably, become one more somewhat minor user interface updates in a whole series of enhancements as Facebook iterates it’s layout, design and user experience to be more and more mobile-friendly.
Today, this change seems fairly significant, but I predict in the not to distant future newsfeed will be just another update in a long continuum of updates (don’t they all seem to go this way?).
Overall, this will provide a more seamless experience across device types. I’m interested to see how they handle (if they address) click options differently. Commonly, mobile interface, or design features big buttons to accommodate a users ‘clicking’ with their thumbs. Desktop hyperlinked text phrases and other ‘click’ options don’t require such large buttons (or accommodation). In this age of the responsive website this aspect of the user experience is pretty fascinating.
Combined these UI changes - navigation changes, information retrieval and display processes - have and continue to change the look and experience of Facebook, we’ll see what this unification does to put Facebook into the mobile-future for users.
Threaded Comments – Our coversation re-organized and renewed
Already started for many larger pages, threaded comments also stand to shake things up a bit. I see this update as one that may help further lead the web-space into a frenzy of personal conversations going in a million different directions.
Threaded messages ‘help organize’ conversations by fragmenting them into new and subsequent conversations. This update alone, I don’t think will turn our world upside down. However, I do look at this as one more iteration in a continuum of updates that (combined with a tech-thirsty, wired-world) will demonstrate further how we are moving swiftly into an age of communication that might even more readily be classified as ‘controlled chaos’.