Founder Mark Zuckerberg introduced the revamped element of the social network at its Menlo Park, Calif, headquarters, as a bid to embrace the diversity of content options that each user can receive.
“What we’re trying to do is give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper we can,” said Zuckerberg.
Emphasis was put on three main factors for the new design: bold visuals that embrace photos, breaking out the news feed into a choice of different feeds, and a mobile-driven user interface that stay s consistent across devices.
The touch-ups come as Facebook sees increasing competition from rival social networks from Twitter to Google+. A better interface could help Facebook keep users on site longer — important to the advertisers who will also look for better engagement metrics for ads in the improved set-up.
While the new design will be slowly rolled out across Facebook’s massive audience base over the next few months, interested users can get an early glimpse here or request to get it early by joining this waiting list.
The main thrust of the redesign is creating a more visually oriented news feed featuring bigger images, whether photos or ads. Photo-sharing site Pinterest was cited as an example of a third-party app that would do well in the new environment. Zuckerberg estimated that nearly half of all items in the news feed are images, a shift from its largely text-driven origins.
A key change will be the introduction of a “follower feed” that takes posts from publishers into a separate stream than status updates from friends, as well as feeds specific to photos and music.
Facebook execs used chart-topping artists Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake as examples of public figures that could appear in the new feeds, but graphics on display at the press conference also made clear it was intended for content companies like ESPN and Time Inc.
“Since the end of 2011, the amount of content from pages and public figures has increased on average in news feed to almost 25-30% of the content,” estimated Zuckerberg.
More to come…