Facebook To Clean Up Its Act

No, Facebook isn’t going to stop saving your profile indefinitely, even after you delete it, or stop keeping track of your online activity, which they do even when you’re not logged-in. But they are going to get rid of a lot of design clutter.

In the beginning, Facebook was fresh and clean, especially compared to Myspace’s endless barrage of neon pink backgrounds and flashing graphics that make up so many profile pages these days. But now, anyone who uses Facebook knows too well the flood of words, updates, photos, vampire bites and other nonsense that smother your homepage. Soon, all that will be gone–or at least put in its place.

According to BusinessWeek.com, the “wall” will probably move to a separate page, linked-to with tabs. And independently developed applications, like Scrabble or maps, will be gathered and organized much more orderly. However, Facebook staples, like color schemes and font, will remain the same.

Facebook is set to surpass 70 million users world wide within the next month, so the design team set up a “Facebook Profiles Preview” group, consisting of roughly 55,000 users who monitor and comment on the design changes taking place, to hone-in their efforts.

From the article:

“In many ways, the hallmark of the Web 2.0 movement is users’ belief that ‘this is our Web,'” adds Bruce Temkin, vice-president and principal analyst of customer experience at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., who says listening to feedback could be as important as asking for input ahead of launch. For her part, Geminder says Facebook’s designers are engaged in the process, preparing smart changes rather than simply foisting them on an audience without allowing them to interact or push back. “Sometimes,” adds Fahey, “a designer’s job is to interpret carefully what may lie behind even cantankerous feedback.” Users, in other words, may not appreciate all the ramifications of their requests, and designers must sort through the responses and apply what’s appropriate.

And, as Temkin points out, it’s hard for the designers of a social network to formalize too much of the user experience. While designers of, say, an online banking application can make changes purely in the name of usability, Facebook’s designers must strike a balance between the site as a form of entertainment, on the one hand, and a useful tool, on the other. “If you take the fun out of Facebook, you’ve got a big problem,” says Temkin.

So, when you log-in to Facebook in the coming weeks, don’t be surprised when you suddenly can tell what the hell is going on.

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