Facebook explains the simple science behind News Feed revamp

acebook explains the simple science behind News Feed revamp
Facebook went back to basics with New Feed revamp

Facebook made a splash with its clean, photo-centric News Feed reveal last week and today the company revealed how it decided upon certain aspects of the refresh.

The revamp, announced at a media event last Thursday, saw Facebook introduce dedicated feeds for friends' posts, photos, music, games and more, in a bid to "de-clutter" the site's landing page.

In an interesting and detailed blog post, User Experience Researcher Jane Justice Leibrock explained how she was called in to respond to the needs of Facebook users who had demanded a cleaner experience.

She found that the posts that users actually wanted to filter out were the ones they most commented on, which were "page posts, stories about songs and games, and stories friends liked or commented on."

Paper and post-its

This left the company with a challenge, she explained: "Since people were clearly interested in these stories, our task became figuring out how to display them separately from News Feed, in a way that people would want to see them.

"We came up with the idea of multiple feeds, each with its own focus on a particular topic, type of content, or type of friend."

From there, Leibrook asked participants in her study to assemble printed stories into assigned piles, depending on how they related to each other. This helped Facebook narrow down what those new and plentiful feeds within the redesign should be.

She wrote: "These themes from my sorting study went directly into the team's decisions about which feeds to make available to people. A Photos feed had been a no-brainer from the start, and the idea of a Close Friends feed had been in the mix and got more traction based on the findings. But the creation of a Following feed was spurred by people's desire for stories related to their interests. The All Friends feed was also born out of my research, which showed people were interested in serendipitous discovery of stories from their full friend lists."

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and TechRadar.com. He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.