Messenger redesigns to clean up Facebook’s mess

If the redesign of Facebook Messenger is successful, you will not really notice what happened. I just did it during the last week of testing. There is only a subtle feeling that claustrophobia has arisen. Maybe that's why Facebook decided to organize a big breakfast press event with 30 reporters today in its new office in downtown San Francisco, complete with a donut wall worthy of Instagram. Even though the changes are minimal: fewer tabs, thread background with a color gradient and a rounder logo, Facebook was eager to trigger an unequivocally positive news cycle.

Old Messenger against New Messenger

In the seven years since Facebook acquired the group The Beluga chat application and turned it into Messenger, it has not done more than cram more functions. With five options of navigation bar, nine tabs in total, stories, games and business, the real purpose of Messenger (chat with your friends) began to feel buried. "You build a feature, and then you build another feature, and they're accumulating," says Facebook Messenger boss Stan Chudnovsky. "Either we continue to accumulate, or we build a base that will allow us to build simplicity and powerful features on something new that goes back to its roots."

The old and overloaded Messenger

But suddenly the root starts the old design with a massive revision was not an option. "It is impossible to launch something for 1.3 billion people who will not disturb people," Chudnovsky told me. "It takes so long to try things out and make sure you're not doing something that prevents people from doing things that are really important to them." At the end of the day, nobody likes change. People generally want things to be the way they are. "

So as of today, Messenger is implementing a global redesign in the coming weeks. It has a simpler interface with much more blank space, a little less redundancy and an informal environment. Here is a comparison of the application before and after.

Old Messenger:

Previously, there were five main navigation buttons at the bottom of the application. Between the really useful Chats section that had been invaded by Stories and the Chaotic People section, there were tabs for calls, group chats and active friends. Among them was a button on the camera that called on him to publish Stories, a tab dedicated to the Games and a Discover tab to find useful businesses and applications.

New Messenger:

In Messenger v4, there are now only three navigation buttons. The camera button has been moved up next to the chat composer in the Conversations section above the Stories, people now contain the Active list and all the Friends stories, and Discover combines games and business. The fact that Stories is in both the Chats section and the People section makes it seem like the company wants a lot more than the 300 million existing Facebook and Messenger users who open their Snapchat copy.

While 10 trillion conversations with companies and 1.7 trillion games sessions are held in Messenger every month and both monetization opportunities are not the purpose of the application, so they merged. And despite the fact that 400 million people, almost a third of all Messenger users, make a video or audio call every month, they usually start from a button inside the chat conversations, so Facebook completely eliminated it. the Calls tab.

All the old features are still available, but not as prominent as before. The only new feature is several color gradients that you can use to customize specific chat threads. If you scroll quickly through the messages, you will see that the background colors of the bubbles fade through the gradient. And a much requested feature that is still on the way is the Dark Mode, which Facebook says will be launched in the coming weeks to reduce the brightness and facilitate nighttime use in the eyes.

Finally, Messenger has a new softer logo. The sharp edges have been rounded off from the quote bubble and the thunderbolt logo. It seems designed to compete better with Snapchat and remind users that Messenger is fun and friendly, as well as fast.

Inside the War Room Messenger

With the downward scandal of the spiraling company of gaps, elections The interference and the false violence inspired by the news, not only Messenger is a disaster. It's all about Facebook, both literally and metaphorically. Clean, counterattack: those are the messages that the company wants to take home.

Facebook won a victory on this front last week by having dozens of journalists (me included) cover it breathlessly is the choice of "war room", until everyone they realized that they had played themselves for the page views. Today's Messenger event felt a bit like déjà vu when Facebook introduced the word "simple" in our heads. Chudnovsky even acknowledged that Facebook had already milked the redesign for a press coup in May. "We previewed this in F8, but that's when the work was just beginning."

We hope that this is the beginning of a clean interface across the company. The main Facebook application is full of content, especially with products like Facebook Watch in the navigation bar despite the interest of warm users. Messenger did a good job of not fitting the camera and the games into our chat behavior, although the Stories still appear twice in the application, although some want them to disappear permanently. The world would benefit from a Facebook more concerned about what users want than what they want to show them.

With the news running only an hour after the event ended, many reporters stayed, writing their posts on Facebook while they were on Facebook. . Chudnovsky admitted that beyond educating users through the press, the event was designed to celebrate the team that had worked on each pixel. "You can imagine in a company like ours, how many conversations you have to change the logo."