If Facebook Inc.'s (NASDAQ: FB) redesign succeeds at improving user engagement and marketing dollars, it will provide an benchmark for other large websites, even if they are not social media destinations. The Facebook changes are simple and fundamental. They could be copied, at least for the most part, if Facebook's work succeeds.
As it released the new program, Facebook's management wrote:
Today we're announcing a new version of Facebook designed to reduce clutter and focus more on stories from the people you care about. You see all the stories you saw in your News Feed before, but with a fresh new look. We've completely rebuilt each story to be much more vibrant and colorful and highlight the content that your friends are sharing. Photos, news articles, maps and events all look brighter and more beautiful.
Aside from that broad description, Facebook management noted that the site would appear the same way on mobile, tablet and Web platforms, which is not something many large websites can claim. Generally, developers set different designs and features meant to exploit the environment for each platform. Perhaps that improves the users' experience in some ways, but it also shows a certain schism in how the Web properties are presented by their owners and creators. What is familiar on one platform is not on all others.
The results of the Facebook initiative may take several months to access. However, it is certain that Facebook did a great deal of research among its members before the initiative was launched to gain as positive a reaction as possible.
Most of the features of the new Facebook pages, and new News Feed, could be replicated by portals and news and information sites. That is the beauty of benchmarking. Sites from Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) to CNN to The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) could latch on to the industry leader's success and share in the benefits. That is, of course, if Facebook's gamble works.
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Internet Tagged: FB