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Facebook Readies (Yet Another) Home-Page Facelift

The paint has barely cured on Facebook's new home-page design. But as users continue to gripe about the new look's rearrangement of many popular features, the popular social-networking site says it will adjust the way its home page looks and works.

In a "Responding to Your Feedback" blog post, product director Chris Cox promised a variety of upgrades that would give users more flexibility. The most useful will be the ability to remove certain applications' updates from the home-page news feed -- i.e., no more "Joe Schmoe took the 'What frozen dinner are you?' quiz, and the result is 'Hot Pockets'!" fluff.

The home-page news feed will also allow you more ways to filter its contents by groups of friends, spotlight photos of pals and refresh itself automatically instead of only showing new items when you reload the page. In addition, Facebook will give new friend requests and event invitations a more prominent spot than their current, cramped box at the top right of the home page.

Those seem like good ideas to me. But I'd like to make another request of Facebook's developers: Please fix the applications infrastructure so add-on apps don't stop working if you move them from your wall to a tab on your profile, or from a tab to your page's "Boxes" Too often, an app will only function in one of those spots, then break down the instant you try to rearrange your profile.

If you've got a public page set up, the problem seems to be even worse -- even though Facebook says they should work more or less like regular profiles. In my own experimentation with a public page, I've found that even Facebook's own apps, like Notes and Photos, will vanish from view if I try to reorganize the page in the "wrong" way. And third-party apps -- Twitter's is especially horrible -- may not work anywhere on the page.

Facebook says it's open to further suggestions, so what design fixes would you put at the top of its to-do list?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  March 27, 2009; 12:50 PM ET
Categories:  Digital culture , Gripes , The Web  
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Comments

I really miss the ability to increase or decrease the amount of feeds about certain friends. It seems now your only choice is to see everything about every friend, or delete the friend altogether. There are friends who are really just "acquaintances" and other friends who create so much Facebook content that you'd be thrilled with one or two per week (or month). Bring back the ability to do this please.

Posted by: cb1231 | March 28, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

The list of changes proposed would by Mr Cox would ALL be remedied by going back to the previous design. I am certainly sick of getting a screen-ful of news about applications I blocked a year ago.

The most urgent fix is to make timezones work. This has been broken for so long now it isn't funny. It's not so visible in the USA, but for those of us ahead of GMT, it means
* that events & birthdays don't show up till a day late (as it's waiting for that calendar date to be valid in US timezones).
* wall posts appear as posted "tomorrow" (yes it actually says that)

Posted by: memew | March 28, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

I am still trying to figure out if I should be interested in Facebook or Twitter. I think they could be useful to my small business, but I am not sure how. I signed up for a Twitter account and all these strangers signed up for my feed; I find that a little creepy. I'm scared to post anything.

I DO have a LinkedIn account, which I am active on and I find useful.

I hate home page re-designs, whether it is the Post, my airline, or other sites I use. They change everything, put up a message saying how it better, and then it takes me twice as long to find anything.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | March 28, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

I have always been frustrated by the inability to be more selective about what others can see on your profile, this is especially applicable to what groups one belongs to, for example. I don't need everyone I know to see about groups involving a medical condition, for example.

Posted by: fluxgirl | March 28, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I hate the Highlights area. Filled with junk ads and links. I'd like to be able to remove items or filter for unwanted ad content, especially on offensive subjects.

Posted by: Mondegreenie | March 28, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I hate the Highlights area. Filled with junk ads and links. I'd like to be able to remove items or filter for unwanted ad content, especially on offensive subjects.

Posted by: Mondegreenie | March 28, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

There should be an option to turn off auto reload. It's annoying when you're in the middle of reading a page and it reloads.

Posted by: jgluke | March 28, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

What do we call this phenomenon? The main stream media always focuses on the big name players which naturally furthers the business of the big guys while it leaves the little guys in the cold. Couldn't some of these reporters get out of their comfy office to explore a bit more, and even some unknowns if I may add my opinion?

Posted by: knowledgenotebook | March 28, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I like 2 things about the new facebook that I hope they keep: 1) the fact that you can filter your newsfeed by list of friends; 2) the fact that you can see what most people you're 'friends' with are viewing in the column off to the right.

Dr. Tantillo, who has a marketing blog, pointed out that Facebook could have at least done test runs of the newest version of facebook to get feedback beore actually launching it....or take the advantage of free and voluntary labor by allowing users to contribute under a wiki sort of setup. Here's a link to his full post.

Posted by: elo8 | March 29, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I like 2 things about the new facebook that I hope they keep: 1) the fact that you can filter your newsfeed by list of friends; 2) the fact that you can see what most people you're 'friends' with are viewing in the column off to the right.

Dr. Tantillo, who has a marketing blog, pointed out that Facebook could have at least done test runs of the newest version of facebook to get feedback beore actually launching it....or take the advantage of free and voluntary labor by allowing users to contribute under a wiki sort of setup. Here's a link to his full post.

Posted by: elo8 | March 29, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

elo8: the two things you like also worked in the previous version, with even more granular control

Posted by: memew | March 29, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

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