Facebook pushes ahead with profile redesign

Facebook is set to roll out a dramatic redesign of its member profile interface in June

Are all these changes going to take effect at once or will you introduce them gradually?

We're phasing the rollout of this. This week we're setting up a sandbox for developers to give them access to the new functionality and they'll be able to begin building against these new integration points. In a few weeks we'll do the same for users, so they can opt in to try out and see the new functionality before it's fully rolled out.

So for end users you'll provide for a while the ability to toggle between the new and existing profile designs?

Yes, that's our current plan.

Will you give people the option to stay on the old design or will there be a cutoff date when everyone will be on the new design?

The current plan is to fully migrate over to the new design but we're in a dialogue with users about this so as we roll it out we'll try to get a lot of user feedback.

And you're shooting for some time next month to do the full changeover?

Yes, that's correct. We're looking at June.

Do you think that people's natural resistance to change will be a problem with the acceptance of the new design?

We've really been focused on communicating very proactively with users about this. We have a page set up on Facebook that we've been running for over a month now that has previews and screenshots and we've been updating that weekly with the most recent changes.

When you were having the first internal discussions about this, did you consider sticking with the single-profile page concept?

There are a lot of things and different ideas we've considered. It boils down to what the three main goals we have for this are: To make the profiles simple and clean; to give users control; and to let them emphasize the most recent and relevant content. This is what we've come up with as the best way to accomplish those goals.

Some developers are concerned the new design will reduce visibility of their apps. What's the counter-argument to this?

We're really focused on creating more value for users that developers can tap into with these new integration points. We're introducing a few new distribution points for developers. One powerful example is this Publisher interface that will be at the very top of the profile. All applications will be able to tie right into that. We think that's a huge opportunity for developers. The second one is the ability to have an entire profile tab dedicated to applications, which is a new concept that we think is going to be pretty exciting and let developers build a rich and deep experience that can take advantage of more space than has ever been provided on the profile.

Will applications have to be tweaked for the new profile layout?

The changes are all fully backwards-compatible. There are new integration points that developers can take advantage of, but all of the things they have built to date will continue to function.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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