If Facebook Messenger’s redesign succeeds, you received’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 at the moment 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 brand — Fb was desirous to set off an unequivocally constructive information cycle.
Outdated Messenger versus New Messenger
Within the seven years since Fb acquired group chat app Beluga and turned it into Messenger, it’s carried out 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 mates — 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 enable us to construct simplicity and highly effective options on high of one thing new that goes again to its roots.”
However instantly uprooting the previous design with an enormous overhaul wasn’t an possibility. “It’s unimaginable to launch one thing for 1.three billion folks that won’t piss folks off,” Chudnovsky advised me. “It takes a lot time to check issues out and ensure you’re not doing one thing that may forestall folks from doing issues which can be actually, actually essential to them. On the finish of the day, nobody actually likes change. Individuals usually need issues the way in which they’re.”
So beginning at the moment, Messenger is globally rolling out an understated redesign globally over the following few weeks. It’s bought a less complicated interface with much more white house, rather less redundancy and an informal vibe. Right here’s a comparability of the app earlier than and after.
Beforehand, there have been 5 major navigation buttons alongside the underside of the app. Between the really helpful Chats part that’d been invaded by Tales and the chaotic Individuals part, there have been tabs for calls, group chats and lively pals. Between them was a digital camera button that aggressively beckoned you to put up 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 digital camera button has been moved up subsequent to the chat composer contained in the Chat part above Tales, Individuals now accommodates the Energetic listing in addition to all Tales by pals, 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 present 300 million customers throughout Fb and Messenger opening its Snapchat copycat.
Whereas 10 billion conversations with companies and 1.7 billion video games classes occur on Messenger every month, and each maintain alternatives for monetization, they’re not the app’s goal, in order that they bought merged. And although 400 million folks — almost a 3rd of all Messenger customers — make a video or audio name every month, these sometimes begin from a button inside chat threads, so Fb nixed the Calls tab fully.
All of the previous options are nonetheless obtainable, simply not fairly as distinguished as earlier than. The one new function is a number of coloration gradients you should utilize to customise particular chat threads. Should you quickly scroll via the messages, you’ll see the bubble background colours fade via 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 cut back glare and make night-time utilization simpler on the eyes.
Lastly, Messenger has a softer new brand. The sharp edges have been rounded off the quote bubble and lightning insignia. It appears designed to higher compete with Snapchat and remind customers that Messenger is enjoyable and pleasant, in addition to quick.
Contained in the Messenger Warfare Room
With the corporate’s downward scandal spiral of breaches, election interference and faux news-inspired violence, it’s not simply Messenger that’s a multitude. 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. Right this moment’s Messenger occasion felt slightly 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 Might. “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 major app is filled with cruft, particularly with merchandise like Fb Watch stuffed within the nav bar regardless of lukewarm person curiosity. Messenger did a very good job of ceasing to shoehorn the digital camera 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 point out them.
With the information going dwell 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 by way of the press, the occasion was designed to rejoice the group that had labored over every pixel. “You may think about at an organization like ours, what number of conversations it’s a must to have about altering the brand.”