Facebook has released a new design of its mobile site m.facebook.com, most notably moving notifications, requests, and birthdays above the news feed. The relatively low-bandwidth interface is part of Facebook’s multi-pronged mobile strategy designed to ensure users have access to the service regardless of their handset or the strength of their data connection. M.facebook.com fits between more data intensive mobile applications like Facebook for iPhone and mobile site touch.facebook.com, and the minimal-bandwidth interface 0.facebook.com.
When users visit m.facebook.com they’ll see a trimmed down version of the status publisher above the new notifications, birthdays and requests panel. From here users can respond to friend requests, see that day’s birthdays, and click through links to view all of their latest notifications or their pending event invitations and other requests. This change refocuses the mobile interface on viewing and responding to the actions of others over creating new content.
Below notifications users will see Top News or Most Recent views of their news feed. Options to view only status updates or photos have been relocated behind the See More Stories button at the bottom of the Most Recent feed. There users will also find options to view feeds of only Link, Note, or Event stories — options not available on Facebook.com. Comment and like buttons are now in-line with news feed story timestamps, giving a more streamlined look with less empty white space. At the bottom of the feed is a People You May Know panel similar to the one seen in the right sidebar of the web version of Facebook.com’s home page.
At the bottom of the home page, the Bookmarks panel has been split with Notifications, My Pages, Events, and Photos remaining above the fold; and Links, Notes, Groups, and SMS hidden behind a More button.
This redesign is primarily aesthetic, and doesn’t give m.facebook.com users Places functionality like touch.facebook.com and Facebook for iPhone have. Though some traffic comes from m.facebook.com being used to direct people to download their handset specific Facebook app, m.facebook.com had almost 10 million daily active users and almost 50 million monthly active users by mid August. Keeping this user base engaged through redesigns is important as Facebook waits for them to have access to more full-featured apps and interfaces which increase overall usage.