Facebook Designers On Building News Feed: ‘We Can Make This Better For People’

To build the redesigned News Feed, Facebook designers quarantined themselves into a plush living room-style office with a live feed of users testing out the new product. They didn't really have a set plan, other than making the user experience simpler and better. Two designers recently spoke with Taxi, a site celebrating design, about the experience of creating the new Facebook News Feed.

To build the redesigned News Feed, Facebook designers quarantined themselves into a plush living room-style office with a live feed of users testing out the new product. They didn’t really have a set plan, other than making the user experience simpler and better. Two designers recently spoke with Taxi, a site celebrating design, about the experience of creating the new Facebook News Feed.

Facebook Product Designers Robyn Morris and Vivian Wang talked with Taxi about what it was like to build the News Feed, based on user feedback. They said there really wasn’t a set goal or set design at first, but Facebook wanted to make the entire News Feed experience better and easier to navigate.

Wang talked about how Facebook prepared for this project:

We created a really funcollaborative environment. We brought in lamps to make it feel like a nice living room that we wanted to spend a lot of time in. There were posters on the wall to keep us motivated and make sure that our end goal was to create a great user experience for the people that use Facebook.

Morris described the mindset that designers took when creating the redesigned News Feed:

It’s not about UI (user interface) for us. It’s not about, “Here’s a wireframe, make it pretty.” It will be like, “Here’s an idea, and here’s something we want to capture or go after, and, how, as designers, can you make that happen?” This is different from the visuals. The visuals are part of it but, as a product designer, what’s fun is grappling around the deep problems. How do we enable this behavior? How do we make this easier? How do we simplify this?

We were never really told what we were supposed to be doing. We just said, “Look, we can make this better for people. Let’s understand what they want and let’s give it to them.” I think the amount of control that Vivian and I have had over this is fairly unique. It’s sort of insane to think that two people can be working on arguably the most visited page on the Internet and have an amazing amount of influence over the way it looks and works.

Readers: If you have the redesigned News Feed, do you enjoy it?