Do you enjoy checking email? Probably not, since the word “checking” is something that sounds like work. Whenever you have to continually go back to a place to see if anything new is there, it starts taking a toll on you. Checking things is boring.
I spent some time at Facebook last week to learn more about the changes that the company is rolling out for News Feed across all platforms. Some of the things that the social network made clear during its announcement was that all of its changes would now be taking cues from the experience users are having on mobile devices. That very specific design, with so little real-estate, makes designers focus on specific aspects that will cause people to engage more, rather than scroll through the feed endlessly out of sheer boredom.
I sat down with Facebook’s mobile News Feed project manager, Michael Reckhow, who has only been with the company for the past six months. I remarked to him that he joined the company at the right time, to which he agreed. His previous experience came from working at Amazon on the Kindle apps team, so he knows exactly where mobile is headed and how much it is taking over everyone’s time as their main computing experience.
Reckhow tells me that desktop users complained heavily about the News Feed experience being “cluttered,” and this probably has something to do with the fact that most of these people are using Facebook’s mobile apps most of the time. When you headed to Facebook on the desktop, it was a huge contrast in experience and turned quite a few people away.
One of the phenomenons I’ve been tracking over the past few years is that there seems to be a certain point where social networking apps and communities become a chore to participate in. I”ve found that many people mention having to “check” Facebook, much in the way that they’d “check” email. That change in mindset shows that Facebook has gotten away from highlighting content to simply aggregating it in one place, much like an inbox.