Live Notes from Facebook Profile Redesign Briefing (Sandbox Launching This Week)

We’re here at Facebook this morning for a briefing on the new profile redesign. We’ll be live blogging throughout this morning’s session.

Chamath Palihapitiya, VP Product Marketing: We’re seeing some trends emerging around the news feed and mini feed. As we’ve introduced more active and passive ways to share information, the aggregate amount of information that is being created has increased. And as frequency of sharing has increased, the average size of each piece of content has decreased.The profile redesign aims to make the profile cleaner and simpler, give users more control over their profile, and emphasize recent and relevant information first. For developers, we want to make the most engaging and relevant applications more prominent.

Mark Slee, Product Manager. We’ve moved from a single flat profile page to a tabbed design. The goal is to split up different types of information according to the different ways user communicate. The core tabs are Feed, Info, Phoots, and Boxes, and there will be custom application tabs as well.

The Feed tab is the heart of the new profile – what we really want to do is pull everything together into one stream. This makes it easy for viewers see what the profile owner has been up to lately. The new Publisher lets users interact directly with the feed, and putting it close to the feed really contributes to the feeling of control we want users to have. Facebook and developer applications can publish to the feed. Also, story re-sizing will be introduced, allowing users to make stories bigger or smaller depending on what they feel is the most relevant.

The Info tab you may recognize as containing the core information Facebook originally contained. The reason we split it apart from the Feed is that the Feed is dynamic and relevant for a given time frame, but Info is more static and relevant for a longer period of time. We will also make this tab extensible for developers to add information to this tab.

Photos is one of the richest and most engaging parts of Facebook, and is an example of how applications can integrate with the profile via its own tab.

The fourth core tab is the profile box tab that makes application profile boxes easier to consume. We’re maintaining a lot of the features that exist today – this is backwards compatible, and users can continue to arrange the boxes on this tab as they have been able to on their profile page so far.

Finally, custom application tabs allow users who are really engaged with certain applications to make them a very prominent part of their profile. This is also a big new opportunity for developers, we’ll talk more about that later.

Ruchi Sanghvi, Product Manager. We want to enable developers to create experiences that engage users in more meaningful ways. The main integration points are the Publisher box on the Feed tab, application info sections, the boxes tab, and custom application tabs.

The Feed tab is the focus of the new profile. It contains information like interactions and status updates. We’ve found that Feeds have increased engagement and interaction, and we wanted to expand that more on the profile. Users can publish feed stories from the Publisher on the Feed itself, or on application Canvas pages. Developers will have the choice of 3 different types of stories – full, short, or 1 line stories. Developers will choose which to use based on the nature of the content, and users can resize stories in their feed. We think this will lead to a lot of application traffic and distribution.

Users can use the application Info sections to describe themselves. There are two types of templates – text only and thumbnails with descriptive text. Some interesting cases could be listing top friends, relatives, favorite music or movies. We encourage developers to think about all the different ways users can express themselves.

On the Boxes tab, we’ve created a tab and migrated all application boxes here. There are still the narrow and wide profile box.

Custom application tabs give users a way to give more prominence to their favorite applications, which in turn should give developers more real estate and drive new app traffic.

Question: Where will the wall go?

Mark Slee: We’re still in a dialogue about whether or not to keep a dedicated wall tab. There’s also the possibility that we completely integrate it into the Feed tab. If we do that, we’ll give users a way to filter out wall posts.

Question: How will the migration process work?

Mark Slee: We’re going to give developers a sandbox to test this this week. In the coming weeks we’ll give users a chance to opt in and try out the new profile. A few weeks after that we’ll migrate everyone over.

Question: How will this change page views users generate?

Ruchi Sanghvi: The new profile is a simpler and cleaner version of the old profile. Over time, users will view more profiles over time, which should lead to more page views.

Chamath: This isn’t about generating more page views, it’s about a better user experience. We’re ajaxing a lot of our features. We focus on engagement, time spent, not page views. People are telling a narrative constantly, and we want to make that easier and more clutter free.

My Question: Are there any changes to advertising products that will be available on the profile page?

Chamath: No, it’s just a layout change.

Question: What’s the upshot for developers?

Ben Ling: We think that there will be increased distribution opportunities for developers of applications that users find meaningful. Some developers may not be as ecstatic about it, but we think the community at large understands that this change is good for users.

Question: Will users still be able to import information into their Facebook profile?

Mark Slee: Yes, and we’re going to make more powerful tools available for doing that. That will happen through the Publisher.

Chamath: We think we’re building pipes that carry information. We’re introducing more ways for users to bring data in and take data out, like Facebook Connect. We expect the Feed-driven nature of publishing and consuming information to increase.