Users have probably lost count regarding how many times Facebook has changed the format of their homepage, yet once again, they are undergoing tests for a new change. However, this time it does not have to do with the layout of the homepage, but instead it is focusing on a design that allows the news feed to be scrolled independently from the rest of the page. No matter how may news feed stories a user scrolls through, the ads, app bookmarks and the top of the navigation will remain visible and accessible.
This could possibly be a new homepage that will not require users to spend time adjusting to or to prompt angry statuses about a new, unexpected layout. Yet, then again there are always complaints when a change is made. The number of Facebook users has reached 750 million, and ads have never before had more opportunity to have a higher visibility and click through rate. A scrollable news feed would also benefit developers because their bookmarks on the left side bar would remain visible as people scroll down. Overall, a scrollable news feed would make it easier to access the news feed publisher, users’ account and privacy settings, and apps such as Photos and Links at the top of the homepage.
Another Homepage Change: Facebook’s take on Twitter is “Happening Now”
A new design to Facebook’s homepage that has received both negative and positive feedback in the testing stages is called Happening Now. It will take the place on the homepage on the right side where “Upcoming Events” usually is found. Unlike the news feed which does not show all new activity, but a select amount that is based upon an algorithm that filters which posts will be shown on a users’ homepage, Happening Now is similar to Twitter. Happening Now lists new entries such as status updates, Likes, new friendships, links and comments in a more concise manner, similar to Tweets. Users are shown a snapshot of more than 10 stories about friends in this section before they even scroll down in the news feed.
Happening Now is meant to summarize the news feed as well as decrease the immediate bounce rate of the homepage. It displays a wider breadth of abbreviated stories above the fold of the news feed through an independently scrollable frame, increasing the opportunity for something of interest to catch a browsers’ eye and thus decreasing the bounce rate of the homepage.
User behavior on Facebook tends to be quick lived, if something of interest isn’t immediately revealed, clicking out of the page is likely. With Happening Now, it is hopeful that the up-to-date and scrollable post summaries will be interesting and cause users to Like and leave comments on posts to increase Facebook activity overall. To maintain ad space on the right side of the homepage, ads would either go above or below the frame of Happening Now. In addition, to increase engagement and the ability to follow your friends more closely, if Happening Now has the ability to display checkins, this feature would allow users to instantly see that a friend was at a nearby restaurant or in the area.
Social media is no longer just about staying in touch with friends, but it has become a place where businesses can advertise successfully. Futhermore, and most importantly, Facebook is a place that encourages engagement and interest. Facebook hopes to improve both socializing and advertising with Happening Now and the new, scrollable, homepage layout. These new features will likely excite advertisers about potential increased click through rates. Additionally, Facebook is anxious to decrease the bounce rate on the homepage. The only question is, will Facebook users be as happy with yet another change to the ever volatile Facebook homepage? How do you feel about the potential new makeover to Facebook’s homepage?