Facebook continues to test variations of Timeline layout

Facebook is experimenting with a new Timeline format that puts all of a user’s posts in a single column to the right and apps and other modules on the left.

We first saw Facebook testing a single-column view for Timeline posts in October 2012. Social media consultant Mari Smith got access to a similar layout but with an updated header, which put users names in white on top of their cover photo and eliminated preview images for tabs, in December. Now we’ve seen a similar design, which uses the same header but swaps the columns for posts and activity modules.

With this layout, the publisher and all posts beneath it have gotten wider than in the traditional two-column design Facebook has used for Timeline. Modules like “Recent Activity,” “Friends,” “Places” and those for any Open Graph apps are all to the left and they are no longer the same size as posts. Another difference is the control that users have over these modules. Each box has a pencil icon which users can click to then rearrange or hide the module. In the original Timeline design, users cannot move these boxes and they can only hide the ones from third-party apps. Facebook-created modules are not able to be hidden or rearranged.

Life events and other highlighted posts don’t stretch across the page when they are starred. In the original Timeline design, when a user highlights a post, it appears larger than others. Now, posts simply get a blue banner in the corner but otherwise remain the same size as standard posts.

Overall, the layout addresses one of the common complaints about the new profile: users previously had to look back and forth on the page as they scrolled through to read their stream. With this design, the line down the center has been removed, making the profile look less like a timeline. However, the timeline of dates still exists in the top right of the page to jump to a particular month or year. The header is also much cleaner than in the original design. Whether posts work better on the left or right hand side of the profile is unclear.

Thanks to Matt Navara for the tip and screenshot.

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