Facebook rolled out an update to group pages that implements tabs underneath the cover photo and makes the about section and search option harder to find.
When the social network redesigned groups last month to include a cover photo, the image would appear slightly transparent, and colors would be restored when users hovered over it. This action would also temporarily hide links to photos, docs, events and the list of all members. Now the transparency is gone and those links have a permanent place as tabs. This is more functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Two aspects of the design that don’t seem to be improvements, however, are the change to the page’s “about” section and search feature. Previously, there was a section on the right-hand side of the page that displayed information about the group. Many groups used this post rules or helpful links. Now, users won’t see this unless they click the “about” tab. Similarly, there used to be a search bar beneath the cover photo, but it’s currently hidden behind a small magnifying glass icon. This means users will be less likely to use search to find out if a topic has already been discussed in a group. It’s possible that users didn’t take advantage of this feature much before so Facebook made it less prominent, but that seems counterproductive.
The social network is likely to continue to tinker with the design of groups to maintain consistency across the site. Currently, groups look more like News Feed than profiles or pages. This is useful for groups that function as discussion boards or collaboration tools, but might not be right for groups of family members, friends or teammates. These people might want Timeline features like posting milestones and displaying large photos. We’ll be interested to see what direction Facebook takes. So far the company hasn’t shared any information about the number of active groups or how the product is most commonly used.