Facebook will finally roll out a News Feed redesign

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It took nearly a year, but Facebook’s News Feed will get a minimalist makeover. After originally nnouncing a redesign campaign in March of 2013, Facebook said Thursday that it will begin rolling out its new layout and design — but what’s coming will look different than what was touted in the past.

My colleague Om Malik had the opportunity to review the new, photo-focused News Feed when it was unveiled last year. At the time, he praised the look’s focus on photos and responsive design, but felt it didn’t do much for Facebook at large:

“I have spent a lot of time with the redesign and I am not clear how this solves Facebook’s two major challenges: retention and engagement. Yes, it is lovely, and the notifications are sort of nicer, but it still does nothing to make me come back more often and actually if anything I will spend less time. I can skim photos and bounce much faster.”

Ultimately, the version Om reviewed never got off the ground — according to Re/code, feedback numbers were so low that the company went back to the drawing board. Apparently, that involved scaling back on the changes, including advanced filters and an array of subsections to compartmentalize the experience. That level of control, it seems, will be left to Paper, Facebook’s alternative mobile app that relies on curation to present different experiences for the News Feed.

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Instead, the redesign leaves the columns alone and instead focuses on the little things: better design details and a bigger focus on photos. It’s no radical change, but it is less likely to cause confusion for those who encounter the new News Feed for the first time.

The company says that changes are expected to roll out this week, but it’s likely that more feedback will be collected before the company feels confident in their overall direction.

Feature image courtesy from Flickr/SpencerEHoltaway

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