JUN. 1, 2020
At last year’s 2019 F8 conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped a big bomb: Facebook is abandoning its signature blue theme in favor of a more sterilized look. It seems that this redesign is coming to users’ web browsers soon.
Facebook is currently testing the new website, and its appearance can be a little shocking to long-term users accustomed to the old design. The new Facebook is just as Zuckerberg described: the theme is white rather than blue, with certain features rearranged to make friends central to the experience.
The New Home Page
In the new design, Stories appear above the What’s On Your Mind bar. This is likely an attempt to bring more focus to the feature, which hasn’t gained the popularity that its counterpart, Instagram Stories, gets. The new design also puts the focus on Facebook Watch, Marketplace, Friends, and Instant Games, which appear as tabs on top of the Stories carousel.
The new Facebook also has a reshuffled left column, with Friends, Messenger, and Groups appearing first, then shortcuts (recently visited pages) second. This reshuffling is in line with the focus on friends, since the first four tabs help users connect with their contacts. Of course, in tune with the times, the COVID-19 Information Center appears on top of these tabs, although once the pandemic is over, it will likely be removed.
Interestingly, the new right column features ads first, birthday alerts second, then contacts third. Prioritizing ads is likely an attempt to bring more attention to Right Column Ads, which can be easily overlooked by users whose eyes are trained on their feeds.
Hello, Dark Mode
Dark mode is a nice addition to the new design. This feature turns the background from white to black, for a more comfortable viewing at night.
You can turn dark mode on and off on Facebook by clicking the upside-down triangle on the upper right corner of the screen, and clicking on “Dark Mode.”
When the new design has rolled out to you, you will also get the option to switch to dark mode. Again, you can change your settings any time.
Switching to the Old Facebook
If you find the new Facebook to be an abhorrent mess, you can switch back to the old design by clicking on the upside-down button from the right corner and clicking “Switch to Classic Facebook.” Since the design is a test, not an official roll out, you will be asked to provide feedback on why you decided to switch to the old design.
It’s unclear whether the classic design will always be available, but it’s entirely possible that once the new look rolls out to everyone, Facebook will slowly phase out its old interface.
What Else Is New with Facebook?
Facebook has a penchant for rolling out updates nearly every month, so of course the redesign isn’t the only change it has in store. Last week Facebook rolled out Shops to its app and to Instagram. This new feature allows merchants to sell their products on the Facebook and Instagram apps. (Users can purchase without being redirected to a website or landing page.)
In a Facebook Live broadcast in April, Zuckerberg announced a slew of features coming to users, including Virtual Dates, a feature on Facebook Dating; end-to-end encrypted, eight-participant group call on WhatsApp; Video Rooms, a rival to Zoom; and Online Events, which allow hosts to charge users per session.
By Anne Felicitas