"The app isn't even blue anymore," Zuckerberg said. He's not wrong.
At its annual developer's conference on April 30, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a complete and total redesign of everything you know about Facebook.
From the site's interface to its business model, Facebook is transforming its aesthetic in hopes of transforming its image as a brand.
The redesign, which Zuckerberg says will take effect sometime "in the next couple months," is Facebook's biggest transformation since 2014, and arguably the most dramatic revamp in its history. Everything you know about Facebook is about to change.
At the annual F8 Facebook developers conference in San Jose this past Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a complete and total redesign of the Facebook app and website.
In addition to the sleek, minimalistic aesthetic, Facebook is revamping the fundamental basis of the platform. Zuckerberg says the Facebook redesign, which he has dubbed FB5, will focus more on Groups and connecting with family, friends, and strangers with common interests.
In his keynote address, Zuckerberg said he wants to make Facebook "a digital living room, not just a town square."
The revamping of the Facebook website is the first major step since Zuckerberg's March 6 blog post. "A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networks" outlined a new direction for the company. (If you want to hear Mark Zuckerberg talk about privacy, you can read his blog post here.)
The new design will roll out "sometime in the next couple months," first on mobile and then on desktop. On some users' Facebook apps, new features have already appeared, and the site looks completely different.
The changes are extensive: Not only did Facebook revamp its aesthetic, but also its features, user experience, and – the company hopes – its entire brand.
Here's what we know:
New User Interface
[Courtesy of Facebook]
The new Facebook design has a sleek, airy aesthetic. The new interface is minimalist with rounded edges and an emphasis on icons over text.
The new design imitates Instagram in both simplicity and layout. Stories are front and center, the navigation bar is in the center of the interface, and the background is now a muted gray.
Speaking of colors, the most jarring change is the header: Facebook's famous blue bar is gone, replaced by white with the logo in the corner – which, speaking of, is an entirely different shade of blue.
While details on this feature are not immediately clear, Zuckerberg says all messages will be encrypted (much like What's App). He says this will allows users to privately share details like location, payment information, video calls, and more.
The new Messenger will also take its new "Remove/Unsend Message" feature one step further with the ability to permanently delete message history periodically. Zuckerberg says the company is still working on this feature, but plans to roll out end-to-end encryption sometime later in 2019 or next year.
Groups Are Your News Feed
“By far, the three fastest-growing areas of online communication are private messaging, groups and Stories,” Zuckerberg said. “In 2019, we expect the amount of stories that are shared to outnumber the amount of feed posts that are shared.”
Groups will now be central to everything about Facebook. This is perhaps the biggest change. As part of Facebook's new vision of being a "digital living room" rather than a town square, the new website focuses on bringing people with similar interests together.
There will be an entirely new tab with a News Feed-like landing page for Groups, allowing users to post directly to a Group much like the current system of posting to your News Feed. Facebook will also suggest groups based on your interests. Different groups will also have different features, with a health group allowing users to share private data and a videogame group featuring a Discord-like live chat.
(Some of these are entirely new, some currently exist in a more basic form, and several have already been rolled out in other countries.)
Facebook will allow you to indicate your romantic interest in up to nine Facebook friends. These users will not be notified. However, if they also choose you as a secret crush, you will both be notified and "matched." This feature can be enabled or disabled.
This feature is already available in five countries, with 14 more coming soon. Facebook Dating will come to the United States at the end of 2019.
Meet New Friends: Facebook suggests friends in your area with similar interests, offering a dating app-like feature for friends.
Town Hall: An improved Town Hall tab allowing you to contact your representatives, check voting information, and view recent legislative policy in your area.
Memories: A new tab for memories.
City Guides: Things to do in your area, much like the Guides currently offered by Google and Yelp.
Find Wifi: Locate free Wifi in your area.
Weather: A tab for weather.
Local: A feed of aggregated local news.
Today in [Your City]: Weather, local news, big events, and top or trending post activity in your area.
Nearby Friends: Allows you to view friends' location (much like Snapchat) if the feature is enabled.
Offers: Discounts and coupons, similar to apps like Ibotta.
Send or Request Money: A tab with a feature to send or request money (similar to Venmo).
Live Video, Recent Ad Activity, Crisis Response, Fundraisers, improved Marketplace, Recommendations, & More
The Facebook redesign will change everything about the way we use the website. It will either establish Facebook as a centralized portal for all your online activity (becoming the place where you go to pay bills, share records with your doctor, make phone calls, read the news, watch video, and even date), or it will be the death of Facebook as a brand. The new Groups concept, which discourages users from sharing irrelevant information with strangers by ditching the traditional News Feed, is now the foundation of the website.
People will adapt, or they will hate it – but either way, everything you currently use Facebook for will be unrecognizable or even gone.
The rollout of the redesign is gradual, non-intrusive, and will, ideally, seamlessly integrate with your current user experience. The design of the app, from a technical standpoint, is significantly better, with smoother, sleeker scrolling, simpler navigation, and dramatically faster and more responsive page load times. The app is also compressed to take up less storage space, while simultaneously doubling in speed.
But will the app itself, with its entirely new concept, be better? Or will it be the final nail in the coffin for Facebook, the last straw before users abandon the platform for good?
You get to decide.