Facebook has moved to become one of the largest and most significant social networks in use around the developed world today after being founded in early 2004. It has over 1.4 billion monthly users of the service around the world. Although Facebook was originally designed with a desktop or laptop computer running a full version of an operating system, such as Windows XP or Mac OS at the time, over the years and as mobile devices have become more and more important, so Facebook has launched and continually refined the mobile application. The application for Android has been through a steady evolutionary process, with the social network company changing how the interface looks and feels several times over the last few years. Facebook are now working on a change to the tablet user interface for Android tablets, with a number of changes to how the application works that should improve the speed and clarity of using the network. These changes in particular give a more compact view with easier control over various functions. Readers may already have the changes to the user interface as Facebook tend to roll out improvements to the service at the server side rather than at the local side, which means that not all users will receive the updates immediately – just as Google does with the changes to its online applications.
The largest change appears to be that instead of having the top links to Newsfeed, People, Messages and Notifications, plus the slide-out menu, instead customers will have all of these links together at the top right of the screen. There’s a more card-like view of the Newsfeed, which ought to make it easier to browse friends’ status updates. The changes appear to improve how the Android tablet version of Facebook works, as one of the criticisms levelled at Android tablets is the lack of optimized tablet applications that can make better use of the additional screen real estate. However, the screenshots included in the source article still show that there is plenty of wasted screen – there’s lots of white screen showing and Facebook have not seen fit to use this yet. There are a few structural reasons for why many Android applications use a very similar interface to the smartphones and developers have been slow to adjust applications over the years. Let’s hope that Facebook will continue to refine the mobile application, especially how the tablet user interface works, and that we’ll see ongoing improvements.