Last year, Facebook announced a major redesign with more white space, or the opposite, if you choose dark mode. Now it’s going live for everyone.
The company says the new design makes it easier to find features such as Videos, Games, and Groups. The new desktop site, which shares many design traits with Facebook’s mobile app, should also load faster than before.
And then there’s the dark mode, a highly coveted feature that mimics similar dark mode options on sites and services such as Twitter and Slack. Besides looking cool (if darkness is your thing), it also reduces your screen’s brightness and minimizes screen glare, and might be easier on the eyes when working in low light conditions. It should also offer a better experience when watching videos on Facebook.
Finally, the new design makes it easier to create Events, Pages, Groups, and ads. You can preview a new Group that you’re starting in real time, and see what it will look like on mobile devices before it goes live.
I’ve had the new design for a couple of weeks, and my impressions are mixed. I love dark mode in general — every single app that supports it is dark on my desktop, tablet and phone. Facebook’s dark mode isn’t entirely black, but rather consists of several shades of dark grey, which is a look that I prefer.
The design itself, however, takes a bit of getting used to. It looks alright in a narrow window, but if I stretch it across the entire length of my 34-inch monitor, it looks really odd (see photo below). While this may be an extreme example, everything wider than about 1,200 pixels will leave a large amount of empty space around the main content.
The old design had an extra column that looked better on wider screens. More importantly, the blank space would appear around all of the content as you widened the window, not between the main column and the sidebars. Finally, the old design had stronger lines separating elements on the page, such as the contact list, making it slightly easier to tell them apart.
In the end, I got used to the new design, but it took a while. If you don’t like it, though, tough luck. Facebook says the new design is a “great new foundation for the next decades of Facebook.com.”
A Facebook spokesperson told me that there will be a transition period, though. The rollout will be gradual (starting today), and users will get the new design by default. But they will be able to return to the old look from the Settings menu on their home page, by choosing the “Switch to Classic Facebook” option. However, the classic experience will disappear “in a few months.”
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