March 25, 2009

Facebook Responds To User Criticism, Vows Improvements

After weeks of user complaints, Facebook Inc. has announced it will make minor modifications to its recently released home page design.

Changes are expected to come within the next couple of weeks, said Christopher Cox, Facebook's director of product.

"Before we launch any new product, it first must pass a process of design, development and testing with a more limited user audience. If those results are satisfactory, we then release it for all of you to use," Cox said on the social network's official blog.

"We know that no amount of testing is as valuable as what you have to say."

Cox mentioned the top four things Facebook members had voiced concerns about since the new page design was unveiled. He said the network would be focusing on making "improvements immediately and over the next several weeks."

One of these changes will allow users to control their stream, thus making the information more relevant. Facebook plans to add a live updating feature that will give users the ability to see their stream update automatically rather than having to hit the refresh button on their Web browser.

Facebook also said it will begin adding tagged photos of friends to the stream in the coming weeks.

Also, the social network is responding to complaints about application content appearing in users' streams.

"We will be giving you tools to control and reduce application content that your friends share into your stream," said Cox.

"Currently, the content filters on the left screen allow you to select the types of content you would like to see. Over time, we'll continue to give you more control over what's in your main stream and how you consume it. We have the eventual goal of building filters that summarize this activity so you can see a more condensed view of what's been going on."

Another key change being made by Facebook is to reorganize things to make them easier to find. In order to accomplish this, requests will be moved to the top of the right column and users will be able to create lists of friends using the friends list filter.

"With the recent home page changes, we're trying to present the right balance between what's happening right now and what's interesting over a longer period of time," said Cox.

"We realize that both are important and getting them both right is crucial for the product to work."

So far thousands of Facebook members have given their seal of approval by clicking the option to "Like" Cox's blog post.

But only time will tell whether the proposed changes will be enough to change the minds of users who voiced their disgust at the page's new facelift.


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