Facebook today revealed a new design for News Feed that includes larger visuals, more opportunities to drill down to specific types of content and a user interface that is more consistent with Facebook’s mobile design.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other key employees involved in the redesign showed off a feed that emphasizes photos for all post types. For example, stories about users adding new friends or Liking page pulls in a user or page’s cover photo. The bookmarks bar on the left-hand side looks and functions more similar to the mobile design. Users can now select category-specific feeds, including feeds focused on photos, music, games, pages and public figures users follow, as well as different friend lists. Facebook says for now some of these individual feeds will be a full stream of all posts in chronological order, not sorted like the main News Feed.
Users can opt into the new design on desktop starting today by visiting this link. The changes will soon follow on mobile.
Users can access category-specific feeds from the top right corner on desktop or by pulling down on the top of their feed on mobile. The “following” feed will include all posts from pages users Like and public figures users follow, organized chronologically. The same will apply for the “All friends” feed, which includes all posts that users explicitly share. The “Most recent” feed, which includes more passive activity, such as joining an event, commenting on a photo or adding a new friend, however, is still not a full firehose of all actions.
The music feed includes users’ listening activity, music-related page Likes, posts from artists users like and modules about upcoming concerts and recently released albums, similar to what we saw Facebook working on in December 2012.
Photos feed is a chronological stream of all photos shared on Facebook, similar to what the standalone Camera app has offered.
Facebook previously had a separate pages feed, games feed and music feed, but they were mostly unknown among users. It was possible to view a feed comprising only links shares or Facebook notes, but these were even less discoverable.
In 2008, Facebook launched News Feed filters — tabs at the top of the feed that allow users to view stories of only one type. Top Stories, status updates, photos and posted items. In 2010, the social network made filters even more prominent with options for status updates, photos, links, pages, games and friend lists.
The last significant News Feed change came in 2011 when Facebook combined Most Recent and Top Stories into a single feed with Top Stories indicated as such with a blue icon in the corner. However, it de-emphasized filtering by content type. This is also when it launched Ticker with a near real-time stream of activity. Ticker remained — albeit with an option to hide it — but the Top Story designation was scrapped shortly after.
A major complaint has been about how Facebook selects what appears in News Feed and what it leaves out. Today’s changes seem aimed at addressing some of those issues and giving users the option to see full streams of content when they want.