Facebook is testing a redesign of its Timeline feature on users in New Zealand. From the looks of it, the change is a subtle but significant shift to how the social giant organizes information on users' profiles.
We got a look at the redesign, courtesy of ReadWrite founder Richard MacManus, who resides in New Zealand. The first thing to pop out? Your friends, pictures, Likes and interests and notes are now organized as a column down the left side of Timeline.
Status updates are organized in a column on the right, next to where Facebook posts its "Sponsored" advertisements. The menu bar underneath the header image has changed and no longer shows preview boxes for Friends, Photos, Map and Likes.
For instance, here is what the top of Timeline currently looks like.
And here is what the top of Timeline will change to if Facebook rolls out the New Zealand redesign to the rest of the world:
As you progress down Timeline, your information, Likes and assorted other material you have posted on Facebook during the life of your account remains on the left, while status updates stay on the right.
Facebook may have a recurring problem with the new redesign in how it places old material you may have forgotten about. For instance, there are several old, slightly embarrassing posts in my long-abandoned "notes" column that would be prominently featured on the new Timeline. It is simple enough to go back to them and erase them, but that is the kind of user experience change that has gotten Facebook in trouble with its users in the past.
Facebook has long used the strategy of rolling out new features to be tested to remote parts of the world first before making them available to its billion+ users across the globe (especially those in the United States). New Zealand has been a favorite testing ground for Facebook - and many other Web companies - and often is the first region to see new design features. Facebook will collect user feedback and data from the tests use that to tweak the design before making the change official for the entire world.
What do you think of the new Timeline redesign? Do you like the new organization of information? At first glance, it actually seems easier to comprehend than the current iteration of Timeline, but given the experimental nature of the New Zealand test rollout, it is hard to tell how much different the user experience will be when it is done. Let us know your opinions in the comments.
New Zealand stamp images courtesy of Shutterstock.