Facebook is soon to become as visually appealing as many of the apps that fill its feed like Pinterest and Instagram.
At a press event held today (March 7) at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., Mark Zuckerberg said he wants Facebook to become the world's best personalized newspaper.
The redesigned news feed will allow Facebook users to view specialized feeds, much like sections of a traditional newspaper. Specialty feeds will include news from close friends, brands and public figures, music, games and a photo-only feed.
The creation of a photo-only feed is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Facebook's new emphasis on photos. In the beginning of Facebook, the news feed consisted of mostly text, but today, photos make up 50 percent of the feeds, Zuckerberg said. When he said the redesign meant richer stories, what he meant was more and bigger photos.
Photos you post will be bigger. Your albums will show a bigger main photo, along with larger thumbnails. Pinterest pins will be much bigger. And just about every story that appears on Facebook will include cover photos from the individual or company's timeline as a background. (That holiday cover photo you haven't changed since Christmas definitely needs an update before Facebook's redesign comes to your account. Read more: Where to find great photos for your Facebook Timeline. )
Your profile photo will also appear in more places. (Again, consider an update.) Facebook announced a new type of automated story personalized for each user. Say a number of your friends watched the same skiing video on YouTube. Shortly, you'll see the video — nice and big — in your newsfeed, along with a strip of profile photos of the friends who "liked" it.
Facebook will also compile stories featuring the top shared articles from news sites you follow and post them to your news feed at the end of the day. Likewise, Facebook will pull together stories about your friends, such as the events they are planning to attend over an upcoming weekend.
The bigger and more frequently placed photos will appear on all versions of Facebook, regardless of the device you're using. In fact, Facebook has taken design elements from mobile and applied them to its desktop version, ridding the aging interface of the "clutter" users had complained about.
Before the redesign, the news feed took up only about 40 percent of a user's main page, Julie Zhou, Facebook's director of design, said. In the redesign, it will stretch across the page, similar to what mobile users are used to seeing. Navigation has been shrunk to a small vertical strip on the far left side of displays.
Facebook is prepared for pushback from its desktop users who will experience the biggest change. The company will roll out the new Web design "very slowly." In the meantime, here is your chance to update your cover photo and your profile before they're viewed by a bigger audience.