New Facebook Homepage Leaves Slim Pickings for Developers

Facebook’s revised homepage is still trickling out (my wife has it, I still don’t) and game developers are going to definitely take a hit with regards to persistent homepage and site presence now that the bookmarks are no longer on the footer of every page. On the homepage, very few items will actually appear at all, unless they make it to the news feed.

Friend requests, Messages and Notifications are now at the upper left of the page, next to the search button. All requests are still in the upper right, including “other requests” where users invite friends to play a game or pickup their gifts from FarmVille, Mafia Wars and the like. Notifications will soon be free of application messages by the end of the month, and gift requests are going to be integrated into the email section in the not too distant future, leaving all but a few application icons to appear in the left column and very little else.

With persistent bookmarks and notifications losing their prominence, developers are going to have to hope the ne games Dashboard (now in the upper left column) can help users discover more titles. Yet Facebook needs to proactively teach users about this feature: my wife’s first question to me was where are my games? Even though the top of page announcement for those that received the new homepage points out the new section, it doesn’t specifically point out games: “Easily access your messages, applications and chat on the left side of the page.”

As a reference, here is the homepage before and after the changes:

Before

fb-homepage-before20100205

After

fb-homepage-after20100205

2 thoughts on “New Facebook Homepage Leaves Slim Pickings for Developers”

  1. I think the changes will be really positive for the gaming/application ecosystem within Facebook. The dashboards are a big improvement over the discoverability mechanisms that were formerly in place. The bookmarks at the bottom of the page were confusing to a lot of users – most people didn’t even know there was an Application menu.

    The routes that people took to get to our apps were mostly notification, news feed and profile box clicking. Two out of those three will soon be unavailable. Getting users to bookmark your apps will become really important so that the counters will be visible.

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