Los Angeles -- Just days after it first rolled out its stock in a rocky initial public offering, the social-networking giant Facebook has silently commenced testing a new design for its Timeline header, with overlaid text and a tidied up icon bar making more use of the space available, first unmasked by Talking Points Memo, that attempts to better summarize and showcase the key details about a member.
Facebook Timeline, the company's most recent play on the profile page that attempts to captivate and highlight a person's significant life events, is having a life-altering moment of its own. The company is performing limited tests of a new Timeline layout, hinting at yet another profile redesign.
The social media giant is testing a tweaked Timeline design, first spotted by Talking Points Memo, compresses the biographical information at the top of the page, so it is nested within the user's banner image instead of appearing below and showcase the key details about a member.
Essentially, Timeline, the radical and semi-contentious refurbishing of the profile, was initially released for all users in December. However, the recent experimental tweaks are relatively minor adjustments to the status quo, and basically condense a user's basic info and boxes (for apps, photos, friends, et cetera) to provide a better snapshot of a person's life.
The company confirmed that it is carrying out a test of the new Timeline layout, which relocates some information and links into the panoramic photo that now stretches across the tops of user profiles.
“We can confirm this is a small test, but do not have anything further to share beyond this at this time,” a Facebook spokesperson informed VentureBeat.
The new look evokes subtle but noticeable changes to the top of user profiles, chiefly moving the user's name, home location, occupation, education, and other basic information into a layer of text atop the “cover photo,” Talking Points Memo described.
Apparently, a handful of users are already witnessing changes to their Timelines, along with TPM reporter Carl Franzen, although the redesign is not expected to be rolled out globally yet. In fact, the social media giant has not stated whether the lick of paint will actually be a permanent change at all.
Below is a view of the new Timeline view Facebook has initiated testing on selected user profiles.
Click to enlarge...
In addition, the new view also adds a “Summary” tab to the profile. When clicked, the tab displays a list of the user's major “Life Events” of the user. Other changes include turning “Likes” into “Favorites,” and condensing the current tabs -- “Friends,” “Photos,” “Map,” and new “Favorites” -- into a smaller space just below the cover photo.
Now compare it to the old Timeline view, first introduced in September 2011:
Click to enlarge...
Initially, Facebook rolled out Timelines to its users last September as a substitute for the site's existing profile pages. Unlike the old profiles, users can add events to any point in their Timelines, even pre-Facebook, so that the page tells an entire life story. Facebook began rolling out Timeline to all users in January.
Facebook often tests pre-release and experimental features in small batches, so there are no guarantees on when or if the rest of us will see these changes. Besides, the existing design does seem a bit sloppy and in need of streamlining, so the changes that Facebook is testing probably would not cause users to revolt--as is often the reaction to new designs.