Facebook puts events in calendar view for easier browsing and planning, but improvements still needed

Facebook has redesigned its events dashboard to include new calendar and list views that help users see upcoming events and friends’ birthdays more efficiently than before.

Previously, Facebook presented events in a single list that didn’t allow users to easily navigate to a particular day or month. It also had separate tabs for suggested events. Now all of the events a user has RSVP’d to, has been invited to and has been suggested are included on the same page, either in a calendar or a list. This is a much more logical and useful display that is long overdue, however, there are a few areas that could use improvement.

Facebook engineer Bob Baldwin wrote in a note on the Facebook Engineering page that today’s update is the result of a Hackathon project. Engineers from the events, photos, messages and other teams worked together through the night to make the product more visual. Showing users’ profile pictures instead of a list of names for birthdays and using larger event thumbnails makes the page more appealing. There is also the nice addition of showing a user’s past check-ins and life events on the calendar. Users can easily create a new event by clicking a button at the top of the page or by clicking the + sign on the date they want to have their event.

Other aspects of the update are more confusing. The menu in the top right corner seems to unnecessarily duplicate features, such as event invites and viewing a particular day. It is much simpler to click on a date from the calendar itself rather than clicking the “Today” button and then clicking an arrow several times to get to another day.

It is also rather difficult to view past events that are more than a month old. To do so, users must go to list view, hover over the small calendar to the left, click “view month” and then use the arrows on the calendar that appears on the next page. Another option is to go to calendar view, scroll up, then click on the previous month. These options are not likely to be intuitive for most users. However, we’ve discovered that users can manually navigate to the period they want to view by modifying the year and month in following URL: https://www.facebook.com/events/calendar/2012/July

We’d also like to see Facebook add an option to filter events by location. There is no easy way to see which events are happening nearby versus those that a friend across the country might have invited you to. Some users calendars will be filled with events they can’t attend. And now that it is easier to see upcoming events and birthdays, it would be useful to have a feature where users could choose to receive a notification at a certain date or time.

We wonder whether Facebook will bring the calendar view to its mobile site or if it might build a standalone events app similar to what it did with Messenger and Camera. Viewing upcoming and past events is relatively easy from the main Facebook app and mobile site, and users can also RSVP to events there, but they cannot create them very easily. A separate mobile calendar app could be beneficial, especially if Facebook is looking to make events less formal and more about making casual plans with friends.

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