28 October, 2018
If Facebook Messenger’s redesign succeeds, you gained’t actually discover it even occurred. I hardly did over the previous week of testing. There’s only a delicate sense that the claustrophobia has lifted. Maybe that’s why Fb determined to throw an enormous breakfast press occasion with 30 reporters in the present day at its new downtown San Francisco workplace, full with an Instagram-worthy donut wall. Regardless that the changes are minimal — fewer tabs, color-gradient thread background and a rounder emblem — Fb was desperate to set off an unequivocally constructive information cycle.
Previous Messenger versus New Messenger
Within the seven years since Fb acquired group chat app Beluga and turned it into Messenger, it’s completed nothing however cram in additional options. With 5 navigation bar choices, 9 whole tabs, Tales, video games and companies, Messenger’s actual goal — chatting with your folks — began to really feel buried. “You construct a function, and then you definately construct one other function, and they’re piling up,” says Fb’s head of Messenger Stan Chudnovsky. “We both proceed to pile on, or we construct a basis that may permit us to construct simplicity and highly effective options on high of one thing new that goes again to its roots.”
However immediately uprooting the previous design with an enormous overhaul wasn’t an choice. “It’s not possible to launch one thing for 1.three billion individuals that won’t piss individuals off,” Chudnovsky advised me. “It takes a lot time to check issues out and be sure to’re not doing one thing that may stop individuals from doing issues which can be actually, actually vital to them. On the finish of the day, nobody actually likes change. Individuals typically need issues the way in which they’re.”
So beginning in the present day, Messenger is globally rolling out an understated redesign globally over the subsequent few weeks. It’s acquired a less complicated interface with much more white house, rather less redundancy and an off-the-cuff vibe. Right here’s a comparability of the app earlier than and after.
Beforehand, there have been 5 fundamental navigation buttons alongside the underside of the app. Between the truly helpful Chats part that’d been invaded by Tales and the chaotic Individuals part, there have been tabs for calls, group chats and lively mates. Between them was a digicam button that aggressively beckoned you to submit Tales, a devoted Video games tab and a Uncover tab for locating companies and utility app.
In Messenger v4, now there are simply three navigation buttons. The digicam button has been moved up subsequent to the chat composer contained in the Chat part above Tales, Individuals now accommodates the Lively checklist in addition to all Tales by mates, and Uncover combines video games and companies. The truth that Tales is in each the Chats and Individuals part make it appear that the corporate needs much more than the prevailing 300 million customers throughout Fb and Messenger opening its Snapchat copycat.
Whereas 10 billion conversations with companies and 1.7 billion video games periods occur on Messenger every month, and each maintain alternatives for monetization, they’re not the app’s goal, so that they acquired merged. And although 400 million individuals — practically a 3rd of all Messenger customers — make a video or audio name every month, these usually begin from a button inside chat threads, so Fb nixed the Calls tab fully.
All of the previous options are nonetheless accessible, simply not fairly as outstanding as earlier than. The one new function is a number of shade gradients you should use to customise particular chat threads. When you quickly scroll by way of the messages, you’ll see the bubble background colours fade by way of the gradient. And one much-requested function nonetheless on the way in which is Darkish Mode, which Fb says will launch within the subsequent a number of weeks to scale back glare and make night-time utilization simpler on the eyes.
Lastly, Messenger has a softer new emblem. The sharp edges have been rounded off the quote bubble and lightning insignia. It appears designed to raised compete with Snapchat and remind customers that Messenger is enjoyable and pleasant, in addition to quick.
Contained in the Messenger Struggle Room
With the corporate’s downward scandal spiral of breaches, election interference and pretend news-inspired violence, it’s not simply Messenger that’s a large number. It’s all of Fb, each actually and metaphorically. Cleansing up, combating again — these are the messages the corporate needs to drive house.
Fb scored a win on this entrance final week by getting dozens of journalists (myself included) to breathlessly cover its election “war room,” till everybody realized they’d performed themselves for web page views. At present’s Messenger occasion felt somewhat like déjà vu as Fb drilled the phrase “easy” into our heads. Chudnovsky even acknowledged that Fb had already milked the redesign for a press hit again in Could. “We previewed this at F8 however that was when the work was simply starting.”
Hopefully, this would be the begin of a company-wide interface cleanup. Fb’s fundamental app is stuffed with cruft, particularly with merchandise like Fb Watch stuffed within the nav bar regardless of lukewarm consumer curiosity. Messenger did a very good job of ceasing to shoehorn the digicam and video games into our chat habits, although Tales nonetheless seem twice within the app even when some want they disappeared completely. The world would profit from a Fb extra involved with what customers need than what it needs to indicate them.
With the information going stay simply an hour after the occasion ended, many reporters stayed, writing their posts about Fb whereas nonetheless inside Fb. Chudnovsky admitted that past educating customers through the press, the occasion was designed to have fun the crew that had labored over every pixel. “You may think about at an organization like ours, what number of conversations you need to have about altering the emblem.”