With potentially only a day before the beta launch of Facebook’s redesign (it will go live sometime this week), many developers are starting to see how their applications will look and operate within the new system.
1. Discovery & Log In
A user’s initial interaction with an application is likely to result in him/her being asked to “log in.” With the redesign, Facebook has streamlined this flow so that users don’t have to leave the page – rather, an overlay box that looks very similar to existing ones appears:
2. New Session Lengths
After the “log in,” applications can interact with users in much the same way as they have before: publishing stories, accessing data, etc. However, in the new system there’s a much shorter session being granted, meaning the application will not be able to access the user’s data long after they have left. This may break features in some applications but others will continue to work without problems.
3. New Profile Box Integration Flow
By some first impressions, the movement away from default application profile integration doesn’t seem as catastrophic as some developers had initially feared. However, this will obviously have major effects still for many developers.
One important difference is that the application will no longer automatically show up on the user’s profile page – either in the “Wall” tab or “Boxes” tab. To do this, the developers will now need to entice users to click the “Add to Profile” button from within the canvas page, which currently looks like this:
Clicking on the “Add to Profile” button brings up a preview of what the user will be adding:
Notice how the user has a choice as to where to add the profile box – either the “Wall” or the “Boxes” tab.
Clicking on “Add” then takes the user to the section of their profile page where they just installed the app. There, users are again given the option to “Keep” or “Remove” the new box:
All of this is obviously intended to make the user think a lot harder about what they add to their profiles. Although there are multiple opportunities to say “no”, I don’t think it’s an extremely off-putting user journey.
4. New Profile Tab Integration Flow
Lastly, there’s the new opportunity for users to add an application tab. The only way users can add your application tab to their profile is through the “+” button to the right of the tabs on their own profile page.
An application tab installed on the profile page will look something like the following:
The tab is present on every page of a user’s profile, and hence a highly visible spot. Within a tab, applications are able to operate somewhere between how they do in a profile box and on the canvas page. Server calls can be made, and some real interaction can be provided. We very well may see new types of apps that make use of this new, more extended way for visitors to interact with profile owners.
There are still a large number of issues and bugs with the new profile design, but things are moving quickly. For those who missed the initial Facebook Platform land-grab, the profile redesign could provide some excellent second chance opportunities.