Facebook tests reorganized navigation bar

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By Brittany Darwell Comment

Some Facebook users are seeing a new version of the top navigation bar, which moves search closer to the Facebook logo and pushes messages and notifications off to the right.

It seems the social network could be looking to emphasize the search function. When users look to the top left out of habit, they’ll see the search bar instead. The design even puts the words “Facebook” and “Search” next to each other. However, when users get a red notification about a new friend, message or activity, their eyes will be pulled farther away from the search bar. That said, Facebook often tests a number of designs to determine what works best for users and engagement. This design also removes the “Home” link, leaving the Facebook logo as the default way to return to News Feed.

We’ve been following the company’s subtle changes that point to an increasing focus on search. In June, Facebook updated its search bar to include the words, “search for people, places and things.” In July, the social network added a “search the web” function to its typeahead search results, leading users directly to a page of Bing results. And after announcing Sponsored Results search ads, Facebook increased the size of the search bar and introduced a “top hit” result in the typeahead in August.

In an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook search receives over 1 billion queries a day, “without even trying,” meaning the company hadn’t positioned itself as a search engine. “At some point we’ll do it,” he said, mentioning that there is already a team working on search.

The company still has three open positions for software engineers focused on search. The job listings have been up since February.

[Update: TechCrunch suggests this design may be meant to get users to look toward the right rail of ads and gifts.]

Thanks to Jeremy Carson for the tip and the photo. Readers who have seen another version of the navigation bar can send screenshots to mail [at] insidefacebook [dot] com. 

Read more about Facebook search:
What Facebook search can answer
4 strategies advertisers are using for Facebook’s search ads

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