Facebook's redesign — originally planned for early April, but delayed due to objections from widgetmakers like RockYou, Slide, and Zynga — is no longer a Mark Zuckerberg production. Third-party developers have hijacked it. A source close to the redesign process tells us "Facebook has made some changes to the original design, reflecting developer concerns." Below, screenshots of Zuckerberg's original plans for the redesign, annotated with the objections Facebook-application startups raised.
- Current Facebook profiles allow users to move application boxes around their profile wherever they like. Zuckerberg's new profiles won't allow as much customization. "The question is whether users will like the return to a uniform "profile" that looks the same for everyone. I would bet that users actually prefer to customize the look & feel of their profiles," an exec at one of the major widgetmakers tells us.
- Zuckerberg wants to integrate the News Feed with the Wall. One developer tells us: "Mixing in 'X wrote on Y's funwall" along with more personal messages from friends may deteriorate the quality of the new wall/feed feature as a whole."
- Facebook widgetmakers hate the tabs on Zuckerberg's new profile. One complains that most apps will suffer due to them: "By default a few apps will get their own tab and most will be relegated to the 'more' tab." Another source tells us this is one area where Zuckerberg has definitely caved to developer pressure.
Facebook has some improvements in the latest version which should mitigate some of this effect on developers. Nevertheless, a substantial fraction of traffic to developers' apps will likely be lost as navigation to new tabs is unlikely to equal current profile traffic.
- This search bar better not disappear like it does in the other profile preview. If it does, one developer asks:
How will users easily find their applications and search for new ones as well as do a quick search of their friends? Getting users to adopt to such a massive change without any major problems is going to be a huge x-factor.