Facebook has launched an addition to its home page events tool: a button that shows the number of pending event invitations, which folds out to allow users to manage RSVPs from the home page’s right sidebar.
The right sidebar of the new home page launched in February and hosted a list of upcoming events to which the user had been invited. The addition helps separate event invites out from the noise of the main notifications page.
As more businesses, especially nightlife venues, discovered that event invitations were a powerful way to call attention to their business without the spammy feel of messages, this list can itself be overrun with events users were too lazy to “Remove from My Events” or RSVP to as “Not Attending”. The “pending requests” box at the top of the right sidebar can become filled with daunting numbers of page suggestions and friend requests left in limbo. Users often leave these personal requests unanswered instead of responding negatively.
So, the large number of disregarded requests could make users feel guilty about clicking the “See All [Requests]” button, which also led to the old RSVP manager. The placement of the manager for urgent, low impact event requests on the same page as the manager for stable, high impact requests was likely reducing the number of events to which users were RSVPing.
The new home page RSVP manager shows up just above the list of upcoming events in the home page’s right sidebar as a calendar icon overlaid with a plus sign next to the number of pending event invitations. When clicked the button folds out to show all of a user’s pending event invitation titles and dates, and buttons to RSVP “Yes” “No” or “Maybe”. Note that this terminology differs from the RSVP choices on an event page where users choose “Attending” “Maybe Attending” or “Not Attending”. By allowing users to quickly RSVP to multiple events from the home page they will likely increase their numbers of positive RSVPs, opening them up to messages from event hosts which increase return visits and time-on-site.
This update to the events sidebar comes on the heels of last week’s addition of a spontaneous events planner which allows users to create events from the home page. That tool still has some inadequacies, though. If after carefully selecting which friends to invite and clicking “Save and Close” you click “Add Details”, your invite list is emptied. This frustration is compounded by a lack of support for friend lists, forcing users to wade through hundreds of friends when choosing a few to invite to dinner.
Facebook continues to fine-tune the event system because events are a core value proposition of the site. As more users rely on Facebook events instead of email or text messaging to coordinate friends, users realize that consistently checking Facebook is crucial to their social lives. Expect the company to continue improving this interface.