Facebook's News Feed redesign is for real this time

If you notice Facebook looking ever so slightly different over the next few weeks, you’re not crazy. Almost a year to the day after announcing a redesigned News Feed, Facebook is finally following through.

But let’s get real: This is no dramatic overhaul of the site or the way it works. Facebook is simply trying to make itself more aesthetically pleasing without angering the millions of people who hate change. And the new look applies only to Facebook on the Web, not the social network’s mobile sites or apps.

facebook redesign1

Facebook’s fancy new look.

What you’ll see as the redesign rolls out over the next few weeks: The main content of your News Feed, like friends’ updates and photos, stands out on a white background while the navigation tools and trending topics clumped around the main bar are on grey. Photos are much larger, which was part of Facebook’s aim with its last redesign attempt. In the last go-round, Facebook emphasized images with a customizable standalone Photos Feed—the same with music and news sources—which people did not like.

The redesign also tweaks the location of time stamps on posts; instead of being below the update or image, they’re below your name. The site also now uses a more eye-friendly font. These are small changes, but pleasing ones.

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Facebook’s tired old look.

But everything else is the same. Facebook isn’t changing its News Feed algorithm or making the site different in any way. When it tried to roll out a new look last year, Facebook found that people didn’t want Facebook to change much. Bigger photos, slightly different fonts, sure. A jarring black sidebar that seemed more at home on mobile than the Web? Not so much.

So Facebook can’t get too crazy with its desktop site. After all, it’s the version that hundreds of millions of people use every day. So the network toned it down a notch and shifted its creativity to its new iOS app, Paper, which really is a whole new way of using Facebook.

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