Developers Unhappy With Facebook Profile Redesign

Picture 1.pngJust this past week, Facebook announced that starting next week users will begin to have the option to adopt the new profile design into their Facebook account. Facebook has been preparing this for months, and supposedly was set to try and launch a few months ago. However, even today the new Profile redesign does not seem ready, and it appears developers aren’t happy.

For the past month or two Facebook has enabled access to the new design to those that have the developers app installed in their account via the url http://www.new.facebook.com. This was to enable developers to begin to prepare their applications for when the redesign goes live. The new design change will make significant changes to the way news stories are published to the user’s mini feed in Facebook, allow the developers to move profile boxes to various areas within a user’s profile, and will introduce a new “info” profile integration point for developers as well as an entire tab on the user’s profile that can be devoted to a developer’s application.

For those developers that don’t prepare, application profile boxes will, by default, be placed in a separate tab entitled, “boxes”, away from the main area of the user’s profile. In addition, news stories will no longer be published to a user’s profile in the same way they are now. This introduces concerns for developers that are worried Facebook has not given them enough time to prepare for this change.

Developers have a valid concern too if they don’t think they were given enough time. For instance, it wasn’t until just last week that the example “MySmily” application on Facebook began to work (it had been working before, but it seems for several days it was down, and has been up and down frequently since it was shown to developers). This app is the sample that Facebook provided for developers to learn of the new integration points from. Its functionality has been quite flaky over time, making it difficult for developers to have full access to it to learn how to develop for the new design. In fact, even today installing the latest version of the “MySmily” source code per the documentation returns with an error.

We went over a demo of this application and the new design in our Social Media Developers Garage here in Salt Lake City last night, and we quickly discovered the new design was riddled with cross-browser compatibility issues. I couldn’t do things in Safari that others could do in Firefox, and others running Internet Explorer also were having major issues gaining full access to the new design. Also, ironically, while Facebook recently launched the ability to comment on mini-feed and status items in the old design, the new design is void of this new feature. Add to that on a large screen like my 27″ the site is mostly white space on both sides and really doesn’t look very good, Facebook still has some serious design issues to work out.

In addition, there still remain many mysteries for developers. Facebook has still not made any mention as to where ads can and can’t be placed in the new design. The documentation remains vague – there are many references to passing a variable into a setFBML call to determine where the application’s profile goes, but there are no examples as to how to set that. Also, the Facebook test consoles are also seemingly having issues supporting the new API and FBML tags and calls. Several FBML tags are also not working, including , a popular tag used by many developers (including myself) for displaying a comments box in their application.

The things I mention are only the tip of the iceberg. Many developers are angry that the new design will mean less traffic and user engagement for their applications. Many businesses could be dead overnight from this new design. There are several topics open in the developer forums with developers stating their frustrations with the new design. “distinctdev” says, “Still no solid spec and the new profile launches in 1 week – Whats up with that?”. There is an entire petition set up by developers asking to say “no” to the new Facebook profile. That petition is here, and thus far there are 17 signatures. From that forum post, “Wild Bill”, author of the “Robot Armies” app on Facebook states:

“I wholeheartedly agree with those of you who said the current design should be cleaned up rather than completely changed. I’ve long seen Facebook as one of the finest examples of excellent web design; it’s all very well executed. The new design is definitely a step back; it feels spread out, bloated, and clunky because of the massive amount of JavaScript piled onto it. The old design could be enhanced to correct the problems the platform currently has. I anticipate a very large reduction of activity on my apps, not only because of detrimental changes to the platform, but because of people who are bothered enough by the new design that they no longer use Facebook.

From “friendhugs“, “Nobody will be using the new format for quite awhile. It’s all opt in right now, and I suspect once they find out nothing works, they’ll just flip right back.”. Also see “madpuffin’s” issue here. I could go on and on with more developers having issues and frustrations like this.

Of course, with any new change, there is going to be whiners and complainers and fallout due to the changes – this is a fact of life with any new design. I have seen it plenty of times with redesigns I have done in the past. However, the problems Facebook seems to still have in the new design go way beyond just design issues, and frankly, I think these developers (including myself) have some valid concerns! It will be interesting to see if Facebook can work out all these issues before they launch next week, or if they’re still going to launch, bugs and all.

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jessestay

Jesse Stay has been a pioneer in the space of social media marketing since before it was called "social media marketing". Originally a software developer, Jesse built a tool called SocialToo.com which helped brands like Pepsi, Brittany Spears, and MC Hammer grow their social media presence, and before he knew it brands were coming to him for help to grow their presence in very unique ways. His tool was featured on almost every tech blog and even mainstream news sites like New York Times, Techcrunch, and Mashable. Jesse also spent a brief period working FOR Facebook, Inc., helping them to build out their documentation to help companies integrate Facebook Connect into their websites and mobile apps. Jesse took his skills and helped the LDS Church kick off most of its social media programs. While there he helped launch the award-winning "I'm a Mormon" marketing campaign with global reach worldwide in the millions of views and followers. Jesse established new global programs at the Church to further grow its reach amongst both members and non-members of the Church, working with every department of the Church, also including entities like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brigham Young University. He also helped the Church navigate its voice and presence during the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign due to the significant attention the Church was getting at the time. He established the social media advertising techniques and strategies employed at Deseret Digital Media growing over 20 million fans across their news properties in just 6 months, and was featured on AdWeek for his success. As founder and Principal of Stay N Alive, Jesse has developed very unique techniques in social media advertising to help organizations grow presences, within months on minimal budgets, into hundreds of thousands of highly relevant and engaging fans and followers. He designed and teaches social media advertising at LDS Business College. He has helped grow sales, and has a belief that yes, you CAN measure social! Jesse has been featured as one of 10 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter (next to Biz Stone and Ev Williams, founders of Twitter) by Entrepreneur magazine. Jesse has written 9 books on the topic of social media marketing and development, including Google+ Marketing For Dummies and Facebook All In One For Dummies, and eats, lives, and drinks social media with a personal combined presence of over 600,000 followers on his personal social profiles.

0 thoughts on “Developers Unhappy With Facebook Profile Redesign”

  1. well they have been saying that they will shift today everyfay it says that for weeks and nothing has happened no new facebook profile

  2. well they have been saying that they will shift today everyfay it says that for weeks and nothing has happened no new facebook profile

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