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Facebook redesign reduces clutter

Some users given interface upgrade

Facebook has started delivering a site redesign to its members in a bid to reduce the clutter of users' profile pages.

A related goal of the redesign is to make the site's activity feed features more prominent and easier to use. The features allow friends to broadcast and receive action notifications, such as updates on what they are doing and alerts about the posting of photos or comments.

In the works since early this year, the redesign was due last month. However, Facebook is taking the time it feels it needs to get this right and make sure that it addresses, as much as possible, the main concerns raised by members and external application developers.

Specifically, some developers have said they are worried that the redesign takes away visibility from applications, possibly making it harder for their applications to gain traction among members.

Meanwhile, now that Facebook has about 80 million members worldwide, the main concern regarding end-users is a backlash triggered by a significant revamping of the interface they are accustomed to.

Facebook's latest major product introduction was in November, when it launched its Social Ads, whose Beacon component was resoundingly criticised. Many members and privacy advocates considered Beacon too intrusive and stealthy in reporting their activities outside of Facebook.

At the time, it became clear that a big part of the Beacon fiasco could have been prevented if Facebook had done a better job of communicating with its members about how the program worked and by soliciting more feedback prior to its launch.

With this redesign, Facebook has taken things more slowly, and from the beginning it has been regularly informing members and developers about its plans via blog postings, screenshots and presentations. About 100,000 members have offered feedback about the redesign so far, according to Facebook.

To further soften the impact of the changes, members will be able to toggle between the old and new layouts so that they can try out the new features and become acquainted with the changes. The redesign will be turned on gradually over the coming days, so not everyone will see it right away.


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