If Facebook Messenger’s redesign succeeds, you gained’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. Perhaps that’s why Facebook determined to throw an enormous breakfast press occasion with 30 reporters in the present day at its new downtown San Francisco workplace, full with an Instagram-worthy donut wall. Even although the changes are minimal — fewer tabs, color-gradient thread background and a rounder brand — Facebook was wanting to set off an unequivocally constructive information cycle.
Old Messenger versus New Messenger
In the seven years since Facebook acquired group chat app Beluga and turned it into Messenger, it’s executed nothing however cram in additional options. With 5 navigation bar choices, 9 complete tabs, Stories, video games and companies, Messenger’s actual function — chatting with your folks — began to really feel buried. “You build a feature, and then you build another feature, and they are piling up,” says Facebook’s head of Messenger Stan Chudnovsky. “We either continue to pile on, or we build a foundation that will allow us to build simplicity and powerful features on top of something new that goes back to its roots.”
But abruptly uprooting the previous design with a large overhaul wasn’t an possibility. “It’s impossible to launch something for 1.3 billion people that will not piss people off,” Chudnovsky informed me. “It takes so much time to test things out and make sure you’re not doing something that will prevent people from doing things that are really, really important to them. At the end of the day, no one really likes change. People generally want things the way they are.”
So beginning in the present day, 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. Here’s a comparability of the app earlier than and after.
Previously, there have been 5 principal navigation buttons alongside the underside of the app. Between the truly helpful Chats part that’d been invaded by Stories and the chaotic People part, there have been tabs for calls, group chats and lively associates. Between them was a digital camera button that aggressively beckoned you to publish Stories, a devoted Games tab and a Discover 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 Stories, People now comprises the Active checklist in addition to all Stories by associates, and Discover combines video games and companies. The proven fact that Stories is in each the Chats and People part make it appear that the corporate desires much more than the prevailing 300 million customers throughout Facebook and Messenger opening its Snapchat copycat.
While 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 function, so that they bought merged. And although 400 million folks — practically a 3rd of all Messenger customers — make a video or audio name every month, these usually begin from a button inside chat threads, so Facebook nixed the Calls tab fully.
All the previous options are nonetheless obtainable, simply not fairly as distinguished as earlier than. The one new function is a number of shade gradients you should utilize to customise particular chat threads. If you quickly scroll by way of the messages, you’ll see the bubble background colours fade by way of the gradient. And one much-requested function nonetheless on the way in which is Dark Mode, which Facebook says will launch within the subsequent a number of weeks to scale back glare and make night-time utilization simpler on the eyes.
Finally, 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.
Inside the Messenger War 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 large number. It’s all of Facebook, each actually and metaphorically. Cleaning up, combating again — these are the messages the corporate desires to drive dwelling.
Facebook 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. Today’s Messenger occasion felt somewhat like déjà vu as Facebook drilled the phrase “simple” into our heads. Chudnovsky even acknowledged that Facebook had already milked the redesign for a press hit again in May. “We previewed this at F8 but that was when the work was just beginning.”
Hopefully, this would be the begin of a company-wide interface cleanup. Facebook’s principal app is filled with cruft, particularly with merchandise like Facebook Watch stuffed within the nav bar regardless of lukewarm person curiosity. Messenger did a superb job of ceasing to shoehorn the digital camera and video games into our chat habits, although Stories nonetheless seem twice within the app even when some want they disappeared completely. The world would profit from a Facebook extra involved with what customers need than what it desires to point out them.
With the information going dwell simply an hour after the occasion ended, many reporters stayed, writing their posts about Facebook whereas nonetheless inside Facebook. Chudnovsky admitted that past educating customers by way of the press, the occasion was designed to have fun the staff that had labored over every pixel. “You can imagine at a company like ours, how many conversations you have to have about changing the logo.”