Facebook Updates New Groups Interface

Facebook has made a number of changes to the user interface for its new Groups feature. Facebook has changed the “Edit Notifications” button to read “Edit Settings”, and users can now opt not to add a bookmark for a Group to their home page. Facebook also now shows the email address for a Group in the header of its page and has removed the notification options pertaining to the old groups feature from the Notifications page.

Overall, the changes are intended to make Groups more understandable and easier to use, while ensuring user privacy.

As the options the button reveals don’t solely effect notifications, Facebook has changed the “Edit Notifications” button on each Group’s page to read “Edit Settings”. This reduces confusion between a specific Group’s options and the Notifications settings page which applies across the site. The icon on the button has also changed from a pencil to a gear.

Within the new “Edit Settings”, users are now given the option to “hide from home navigation.” When checked, a user won’t see a bookmark to the Group in their Facebook home page’s left navigation sidebar. A link to the Group will still appear on the Groups home page, accessible by clicking “See All” within the Facebook home page’s Groups navigation panel.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained at the Groups launch press conference that the site never shows a ranked list of which friends you interact with most, such as ex-boyfriends or people you’re flirting with because “other people might be over your shoulder while you’re using Facebook.” Complementing how Groups offers the “secret” privacy option — making a Group’s name, members, and content invisible to all non-members — users can now also keep any of their Groups from appearing on their home page navigation where they could be noticed by those watching over their shoulders.

Since the launch of Groups, users could go to Account->Account Settings->Notifications to change what actions within Groups generate in-Facebook and email notifications. Previously, the page included options pertaining to the old groups feature. New Groups have no officers or discussion boards, and users are simply added to Groups, not invited. Therefore, options to be notified of when you are promoted to an officer, your discussion board post is replied to, or you are invited to a Group have been removed. Also gone is the option to be notified when someone posts to one of your Groups, as the option was redundant since users manage this on a Group by Group basis.

Lastly, once a Group successfully creates sets its email list address, it will appear in the header of the Group page next to the privacy setting.

A product as deep and thoroughly integrated into Facebook’s other apps as Groups will surely receive numerous updates in the future. Facebook is clearly watching how users take advantage of the product, and how they have trouble with it, and are molding the product to facilitate use.