Facebook page redesign: the good, the bad and the ugly. All you need to know

This has been our favorite subject this week, we first wrote about it here, concerned that the app tabs didn’t show up on the first screenshot of the scheduled redesign, then, we began rejoicing here after having seen the second screenshot Facebook shared which finally displayed app tabs on the left column of the page.

This morning, we finally had access to a page with the new design.

There’s good news, bad news and some really ugly stuff. I’lll start with the good news.

The good news

#1 Applications are still visible on the page. Not only are they accessible under the “more” drop down button as many were guessing a couple of days ago, they’re also displayed in the same format as they are today (with the tab image and app title) in the left side bar. You just have to scroll a little to see them.

That’s pretty good news.  The visuals will be less visible than what they used to be (at the top of the page) but still easily accessible. In fact, the position they have today is not worse than the one they had in the 2011 version of pages (it was a tiny icon in the left side menu).

#2 You can still pin a post to the top of the timeline. Page admins can still make sure that the first thing page visitors see is the post promoting their apps.  No change here.

#3 Page posts are now larger. They are 511 pixel wide as opposed to today’s 410. This is better for your content’s visibility. And since you only have one column now, the pinned post, if you use it, will be even more visible. No more scanning left to right between columns, good stuff!

#4 Fan posts and reviews for local pages are still here. This was another of the major questions page admins were worried about in these comments which followed the announcement of the new design. No more worries on that side.

New Facebook page design 650

 

The bad news

#1 The page header remains on screen after apps are launched. Bad news. Page headers are pretty high (360 pixels). Once your app is launched, it’s content is now low on the screen. Your users will be forced to scroll down in order to see it.

The current design gives apps the full screen, once launched, your promotion’s visuals and copy cover the screen from top to bottom and users only need to scroll see or enter a contest if you designed it that way. Knowing that users hate to scroll and anything that’s below the fold gets much fewer clicks and traffic, this is not a good move.

Applications are now displayed under the page header, pushing them way down the page. Users will have to scroll down, this is not a good news

Applications are now displayed under the page header, pushing them way down the page. Users will have to scroll down in order to participate, this is not good news

#2 Page suggestions are now displayed within apps!  Ouch!  Can this be for real?  If your app contains a like gate (which is the case in 99% of Facebook apps), users who click the like button will automatically see a widget suggesting other Facebook pages you may want to like.  These suggestions are determined by location, category and other pages your fans like- possibly your competitors.

Not only is this distracting your visitors, pushing your app content further down the screen, it’s an invitation for your participants to move immediately to another page displayed in that widget. At this point, for most screens, your app will basically disappear if users don’t scroll down to see it again. Very, very bad for conversion rates.

After you've clicked "like" to enter the contest, a widget is automatically displayed below the page header, pushing your app even further down, below the fold.

After you’ve clicked “like” to enter the contest, a widget is automatically displayed below the page header, pushing your app even further down, below the fold.

#3 the like button has moved and is less visible. In the current design, the like button is at the top right of the page and is standing alone on a white background. Pretty visible and easy to spot. In the new design, as the page header remains visible on top of your app throughout the process, the like button has not only moved further to the left, but is also on your header image background. It will be less visible, especially if you have a background with a lot of visual noise.  You’re going to need to change your “click the like button here” visuals to point users in the right direction.

The very bad news

If you were not upset enough already, here comes the worst part.

If you’ve opted for the fan gate, like the other 99% of all Facebook apps, clicking on “like” will not reload the page to take users to the next step. Clicking on like, leaves users on the like gate step.  It basically does nothing. You’ll only be taken to the next step by manually reloading the page. Yuk. This is obvioulsy a bug on Facebook’s side, and it will hopefully be fixed soon, but you need to be aware of that before opting to take on the new design.

If you do move to the new design, you’re likely to lose most of your participants who won’t understand what to do once the page fails to reload itself.

As of today, the new design is not being pushed globally to all pages. Many of you have probably seen a message on the page inviting you to register on the waiting list for the new design:

wait list

[WARNING]: Before applying to the waiting list, consider the possible consequences to your current fan gated applications. As long as the bug mentioned above remains unfixed, I recommend sticking with the current design.

[UPDATE AT 6PM EST on March 14]: the bugs have been reported to Facebook. If you want to be alerted when they will be fixed, you can go to these links:
https://developers.facebook.com/x/bugs/607251556022121/
https://developers.facebook.com/x/bugs/485078864927611/

I hope this article helped you understand the pros and cons of the new Facebook page design!

Richard Beeson

Richard is a Client Happiness Jedi for Agorapulse, based out of San Francisco and Paris, advising agencies and brands across the globe on Facebook page management and marketing. He sings Bachata in the shower and dances salsa 3x a week whether he needs it or not.