Facebook Updates Its Layout To Add Functionality

Facebook unveiled a new layout today, merging the News Feed and Most Recent stories. All of your news is situated in one place, with Facebook’s algorithms deciding which updates will be most interesting and relevant to you.

All new top statuses and photos that got posted while you’ve been away from Facebook have been marked with a blue corner. Facebook have also increased the size of the photos in the News Feed for better enjoyment. More recent stories are below, posted in chronological order as before.

In line with last week’s blog post, you are now automatically subscribed to all your friends, and you can choose exactly how much you’d like to read about them on Facebook. You can also choose to unsubscribe from friends’ updates or your friends from the drop down menu situated in the top right corner of their update.

Top stories are stories that Facebook thinks would be interesting to you, based on a couple of factors, including the number of comments and likes on that story, along with the kind of relationship you share with that person, and how many interactions you’ve had with them.

Another interesting feature that’s been introduced is the ticker, which allows you to see your friends’ activity in real-time. Ticker includes live stories, like status updates, comments, likes, friendships, photos, links and videos.

Similar to the News Feed, you can also hide stories in ticker by clicking in the top right and choosing ‘Hide Story’. Ticker is also interactive, expanding the story you hover over and letting you comment on or like an update, send a friend request, or even like a page.

Facebook have also improved their lists quite a bit. They’ve added three improvements, namely Smart lists, Close Friends and Acquaintances lists and better suggestions.

There are four Smart lists that have been added to everybody’s lists, namely work, school, family and city. You can also add or remove people from these lists manually.

Your Close Friends list is where you’d add all of your best friends, as this is the list where you’ll get to see all of your friends updates. The Acquaintances list is where you can put other friends, who aren’t so close, and you’ll get to see only their most important updates, like if they move to a new city or get married. You’ll still be in touch, but not as closely. Restricted lists allow you to share only posts that are marked Public.

Facebook are certainly adding more functionality, which after playing around with it for some time, is definitely welcome. The ticker and improved friends’ lists are extremely useful, and as soon as I’d managed to instruct Facebook which ones were top stories, Facebook became much more relevant and interesting for me.

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