Saturday 2 March 2013

Facebook tries single-column Timeline design with some users

The Next Web has information that Facebook is testing a new single-column Timeline design for its users in New Zealand. The new design, of which they have a screenshot shows that the "About" section has been pushed to the left-hand side of the page and Status updates, and other shared posts has been moved to the right-hand side of the page. That apart, the name of the user has been shifted too - to be made one with the cover photo and is written in white.

Moving on, you look at the top of the page, you will notice that the icons for message, friend requests and other notifications have been moved to the right-hand side of the blue strip, while the name of the user has been moved to the left.  

If you go and check out how your profile page looks currently, you'll notice that it has been divided vertically - with the space for status updates, and other posts to the left and the friends lists, photo albums and likes, among other things to the right. So in practice, if the new design is rolled out uniformly, the columns would have switched sides.

TNW managed to lay their hands on a second screenshot, too. This one shows off a new feature, wherein BuzzFeed links to an online article, but this time there is a new "Like Page" button.

We spoke of Facebook’s plans of introducing a single-column Timeline design in early November last year. At the time, it had been reported that in the new layout design that was being tested, all posts will be visible in a single column on the left, while all activity indicators will be moved to a column on the right. A single-column design is interesting, and if this design lives, users will be able to view all the posts in a single, vertical stream, instead of the current design that has users switching from right to left to view posts.

Timeline essentially allows users to view their lives as on Facebook in chronological order, dotted with pictures, posts, videos and all. All the events in the life of the user, and the content he or she has posted, right from the date of creating the profile, is neatly arranged in chronological order, as if telling a story.

When the Timeline was introduced, not all users liked the idea of adopting the Timeline and sure enough, this compulsory transition is bound to face stiff resistance. The Telegraph quoted one user as saying, "I’m sorry but this is rubbish. I’m surprised Facebook hasn’t included a compulsory DNA profile section (default to public obviously)."

Late in January last year, there were similar reports about Facebook giving users a week's time to make the scheduled switch from their old profiles to the one with the Timeline. At the time, we had cited an official blog post by Paul McDonald on The Facebook blog. In his post, he had said, "Last year we introduced timeline, a new kind of profile that lets you highlight the photos, posts and life events that help you tell your story. Over the next few weeks, everyone will get timeline. When you get timeline, you'll have 7 days to preview what's there now. This gives you a chance to add or hide whatever you want before anyone else sees it."

In December last year, there were also reports about Facebook possibly tweaking its Timeline design some more. What started it all was that Facebook reportedly rolled out a new Timeline design for one of ABC News’ producers, leading them to believe that the social networking giant may have given them 'a peek at the future of Timeline'. Facebook even confirmed with ABC News that, “This is a new design Facebook is testing with a small percentage of people to make navigating timeline even easier."

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