wrote about in February is now live for developers. Any developer can visit http://www.new.facebook.com/profile.php to access the developer sandbox and play around with the new design, which aims to unclutter the site by breaking the profile into five distinct areas. Will the new profile provide a better user experience? Or will it be met with resistance?Facebook's new profile design, which we first
Probably the most interesting thing about the new profile design is the emphasis Facebook now puts on the mini-feed. Facebook has decided that activity streams are the most important part of the profile -- more important than the wall or the about me info -- and put them front and center on the main tab. Though applications tend to have a presence in the mini-feed, they have been somewhat marginalized by being relegated to the "Boxes" tab -- which is the fifth listed when reading left to right. There is also an "Applications" drop down in the top nav bar, but this is a major departure from the old "app boxes everywhere" layouts.
We did notice some inconsistencies with the new layout in the developer sandbox version. For example, at least one app had a box appearing on the left side bar on all profile pages, with no clear indication of how to add and remove applications from that area -- or how many would be allowed that special treatment. We also thought it strange that to post to the wall, users are asked to use a box on the Feeds tab, while there is no way to post from the actual Wall page. That said, this is a beta sandbox page, and Facebook informed developers that, "some features are not necessarily enabled and others are still in flux."
When we introduced the new tabbed profiles in February, we theorized that the limited space for applications was an attempt to encourage developers to create more useful apps. Facebook said then that applications that "don't provide value and meaning for users" would face "challenges" under the new profile layout.
Now that the new profiles are (almost) live, what do you think? Do tabs make sense? On one hand you have extra clicks to get to certain profile information, and profiles are even less able to be customized by the user now. But on the other, there is a lot less garbage in the way of applications that users are forced to wade through to find the information they want -- profiles are now undeniably cleaner. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.