After implementing several changes to its algorithm, Facebook has once again switched gears and refocused its attention on design. About a year ago the social network introduced a new look for News Feed which never made it past the initial rollout phase. Citing navigation difficulties, Facebook held back on a worldwide rollout, until now.
With user feedback in mind, Facebook announced that it will launch an update to News Feed in the coming weeks that will combine the current layout and navigation with new aesthetics, such as larger photos and new fonts. Additionally, the white background of the current design will be darkened slightly. Not only does this help content to stand out, but it’s more consistent with Facebook’s mobile News Feed.
Here’s what the current News Feed looks like:
And here’s what the updated News Feed looks like:
As you can see the new look features refreshed story cards, bolder presentation for images, a lighter and more simplified left-hand column, and a new font for the text — Helvetica for Macs and Arial for PCs. Additionally, attachments will get their own space with links displayed in Georgia titles. Individual photos will be full width while multiple photos will be arranged in a collage.
In terms of sharing, not much has changed. These updates are purely visual and won’t affect how Facebook surfaces content, nor will they change how stories are ranked in News Feed. Keep in mind though that text updates from Pages are treated differently than those from friends. In a recent update Facebook warned that Pages could expect a decrease in the distribution of text-only updates in favor of other story types, like photos and videos.
It’s likely that your social team has already begun integrating more visual content into your posting schedule. Images in particular have been performing well on Facebook for quite some time. For a little inspiration, take a look at our past article about how brands can create noninvasive video content to share on social networks.
Once this new design is rolled out worldwide, it’ll be business as usual for most brands on the social network. However, it’s worth noting that organic stories and ads will be the same size. Although shared images in News Feed are getting larger, requirements for creative specs and image aspect ratios for ads haven’t changed. For brands this means that nothing is different about the way you buy and optimize your ads. You should continue to advertise based on your objectives. However, you might want to pay extra attention to the text associated with your ads, as well as their calls to action.
So while this latest update doesn’t have a whole lot of actionable items in store for the immediate future, it’s important to know how the overall user experience will be affected.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.