Redesigned activity box, notification center give Facebook users in-line controls for privacy, app alerts

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By Brittany Darwell Comment

Over the past week, Facebook has been rolling out redesigns for the “recent activity” box on Timeline and the notification center at the top of the site. Besides visual changes, the features now include in-line controls for adjusting the privacy level of a recent action and choosing whether an app or group can send notifications.

The new activity box includes larger images and text, as well as an additional app icon. When users hover over their own activity stories, they see the current privacy setting of the action and have the option to change its visibility to “only me.” These settings are important to give users the confidence that they control what they share using Open Graph applications. If Facebook makes it too difficult or confusing how to manage privacy settings for certain actions, users could begin to avoid these apps all together.

The larger size of photos and text in the activity box gives apps further exposure on Timeline, which could lead to discovery among friends and promote re-engagement with existing users. This is the second time the social network has increased the size the recent activity section of Timeline since it launched. The design fits Facebook’s current trend of increasing the size of images across the site and its mobile apps. See below for a comparison.

The redesigned notification center also has in-line controls so users can easily indicate when they want to stop receiving notifications from an application, group, event or comment thread. See a sample app notification in an image to the right from TechCrunch. Visually, the notifications drop-down now looks inspired its mobile counterpart, with rounder edges and the notification icon lighting up in white. See below for a comparison.

New activity box

Previous activity box

Original activity box

New notifications center

Previous notifications center

Mobile notifications center