March 8, 2013 Back to All Blogs

Facebook Redesigns. How Much Change is Too Much?

You can always count on Facebook to change things up with frequent redesigns and tweaks.facebook

This week’s mobile redesign pulls up contact, check-in and business hours information to the top of the screen for easy access and action. Last month’s substantial redesign of the Facebook NewsFeed is aimed at the mutually reinforcing goals of keeping users engaged and luring more advertisers.

With a goal to make Facebook “the best personalized newspaper,” with the news feed giving users a table of contents of  “a well-curated magazine.”

In the world of web design, how much change is too much? The redesigns are aimed at keeping users engaged, but is there a risk users will be turned off or confused? That’s where continuous testing and experimentation come into play.

Incremental changes and improvements based on user feedback and experience is a vastly better approach than issuing an RFP every five years to do an expensive website redesign. In the “Top Ten Nonprofit Tech Trends to Watch in 2013,” we called it the Whole Foods-ification of website and technology endeavors, because it’s organic and changing.

Getting the design of online platforms just right will make a huge difference in how it gets used. Launching a website or creating apps with the right information is not enough. Ultimately we need users to act on the information and accomplish something.

Facebook makes changes to its design daily. That may seem like a lot, but change informed by user experience is progress. When we test, we learn and make changes that continuously provide new value to users.

See also:
Designing for Health Behavior Change

Don’t let this happen to you (or me) – a technology vendor relationship gone awry

Mark Tobias (@PanthTech) is president of Pantheon, which combines technology expertise and a deep knowledge of health care, education, and social impact markets to provide online technology solutions for nonprofits, associations, and government.