Facebook’s Been Secretly Testing Its New Design For A Year

And parts of it came from user ideas. They asked for less of Facebook and more of their friends, according to Facebook’s tech lead.

Justine Sharrock

Every Friday, Facebook has a group of users test out new products and designs the company is working on. The testers’ reactions and comments are live streamed to a group of engineers “buried in a corner of one of the engineering buildings,” Facebook’s Tech Lead Chris Struhar told Buzzfeed.

Facebook decided it needed to fix News Feed over a year ago. Over the past twelve months, these users have been testing a version of the new News Feed that Facebook unveiled today. “One thing that came though in every single conversation over hours and hours was that they wanted more control over what they saw on their News Feed,” he said.

The users’ other big complaint: clutter. And so Facebook decided to segment its design so that “the content your friends post really shines through,” says Struhar. “We knew had… something when at the end of the day people were saying, ‘Can we keep this thing?’”

In its announcement today, Facebook said that it will roll out the new design to a small percentage of users in order to make sure it’s sufficiently “polished” before activating it across the board. The testing phase, in other words, still isn’t over.

When asked what they are currently testing on Fridays, Struhar would only say, “secret projects that I cant describe to you.” Maybe next time.

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