With News Feed Overhaul, Facebook Delivers Your ‘Personalized Newspaper’

by RYAN TATE, Wired.com  |  published on March 9, 2013

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Facebook redesigned its News Feed with bolder images and special sections for friends, photos, and music, saying the activity stream will become more like a “personalized newspaper” that fits better with people’s mobile lifestyles.

Unveiled this morning at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California (liveblog), the overhaul is designed to get people to interact more frequently with the News Feed, the stream of status updates and other information that greets each user upon login. Like a newspaper, the new News Feed has a prominent, bold front page and is divided into a host of new sections, showcased in a menu in the top-right corner of the screen: All friends, most recent, close friends, music, photos, following (for Facebook Pages), and games. The order of the menu will change based on which sections you drill down into the most.

Facebook executives said the new design would more readily grab people’s attention across a range of devices, from tablets to mobile phones to notebook computers. The design is intended to have the exact same navigation across all devices.

“I think there’s a special place in the world for a personalized newspaper that can span the whole gamut” of content types, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the event. “As what we all share changes, the composition of News Feed should change as well…. We want updates from our friends but also from publications and businesses we care about, so this is the evolving face of News Feed.”

Zuckerberg said that photos have doubled to 50 percent of News Feed stories in just under a year and a half, while Page Posts have nearly doubled to just under 30 percent from 15 percent in the same period. As smartphones spread, users are taking more — and larger — photos.

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in today’s [old] design it’s more like 500,” Facebook design director Julie Zhou said.

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