On “the New Facebook” - an engineer’s perspective.

Sep 22, 2011 | 3 minutes read

Tags: blog

I came across an image today which set me thinking..

Look, another Facebook UI change – less subtle than many previous ones, too. Looks like there’s more than just a UI change to this, I see there’s some new features too?

I now have some auto-lists, based on the groups I’m a current or past member of, allowing me to filter my stream. I’ve automatically now got lists based on my workplaces past & present (‘Feedhenry’, ‘IBM Ireland’ , my alma mater (‘Trinity College Dublin’), and even my current location (‘Dungarvan Area’). That’s a seriously nice feature, and bundled with the ‘Close friends’ function allows me to show only the news which I really care about in my stream.

There’s a sidebar in the top left, too, with seemingly random wall posts. It’s filled with inter-profile messages from one user to another, all the activity which wouldn’t typically show up in my main stream. A Facebook Stalker’s dream, and even though the information is of little relevance, it’s a constantly updating list which gives additional context and information on mouseover. Again, a neat feature!

There’s also some swanky new way to view a more minamilistic view of my profile as a timeline, which reads like a book. It’s presentation is stunning, reads like a book, and it’s fun to glance back.
I have to say, pretty happy with this new feature set.

But what’s this? My stream is filled with hatred for the new layout. Here’s a brief, annonymised sample:

“…When the UI requires a degree in human interaction and interfaces just to be able to navigate from place to place and see what’s going I think that’s as good a time as any to call it quits….”

“Fuckin wanker bastard Facebook!!”


I can’t help but feel sorry for the poor team of engineers who probably spent months excitedly working long hours to ship this new release. I don’t understand. A bunch of shiny new features, filters and a fresher UI. What’s there to dislike?

Perhaps I’m a little biased, as I work in a career developing Javascript frontends – I can get distracted by slick UI. However, I’ve come to a conclusion.
People are idiots.
Perhaps avid Facebook users have mastered the navigation of the old UI to the finest pixel, and are now frustrated at the extra half inch drag involved when switching from Mafia Wars to Farmville.
Perhaps people don’t like to see Google + Undermined? Yes, they’ve come out with a whole new release just a few months after + kicks off the ground. There’s a bit of feature crossover. But let’s be honest: The idea of groups of friends, be it circles or lists, is hardly a novel concept!
Or perhaps people are sheep? Ooh, look, new Facebook UI. Better bitch about it before any of my other friends do!!
Perhaps it’s just cool to hate Facebook?

Thoughts? Agree? Completely disagree? Feel free to do so in the comments!