Facebook is a social network. In fact, it’s pretty much the largest social network out there, with hundreds of millions of users and even more visits per day. So it truly is a wonder that the website’s app for the mobile operating system Android (you know, the one with the most current market share) is an atrocity.
I’m an Android user myself, and for the most part – I’m happy with the selection of applications available to me, and I enjoy using the system. However, Facebook is amongst my most visited sites, and to be frank I’m a little disheartened by the lack of support given to my mobile system of choice. However, I shan’t let that get to me
Instead, I decided I would create some tasty mockups of my own, showing what I’d want from Facebook instead of merely complaining about their efforts. While I do lack the programming ability to recreate this in actual code, I do hope that I will one day know enough to make these designs a reality.
Oh, and click the images to see them in their full sized glory.
The News Feed:
Now, you can immediately see what I’m going for with the cards. Every card is a different ‘story’ from your home page, from status updates from your friends to images uploaded. They’re also all presented in the same format – first the image of the poster (as well as posting information such as their operating system and time of posting), and then their content.
Now, the content is usually the text from the status update, but in the case of picture uploads, I believed that the pictures are the primary thing to be communicated from the story, so this is put in place of the text in the status. The images can also be expanded to full resolution by tapping them. After this, supplementary information is shown – which in this case is essentially just the text that accompanied the image. The caption, if you will.
Under these elements, you have the ‘like’ and ‘comment’ buttons. The like button here is symbolised by a ‘star’ icon, which lights blue when selected, and a comment icon, symbolised by a ‘speech bubble’, which also goes blue when selected. Each of the two buttons has a number inside of it. The number inside the ‘Like Star’ is indicative of how many ‘Likes’ the story has received, whereas the number in the ‘Comment Bubble’ is the number of comments received.
When the ‘comment’ button is selected, it expands the post inside the stream to include comments, adding a little onto the bottom of the card. It will also allow the user to comment at the bottom of the previously existing comments, meaning they can read the post they are directly replying to, so that they can make their post in context.
Each of these buttons are at the left hand side of the screen because we are in the dawn of an age where phones are absolutely massive. Six inch phones, and the newly popular ‘phablets’ are becoming increasingly prevalent in the market, and have to be catered to. Putting buttons in the middle of the screen means users have to stretch their finger to hit them, reducing grip on the device. Having them on the side means that its comfortable for the user to hit the buttons – and it doesn’t leave them in fear of dropping the device.
At the top right of the screen, we have a status post button – alone – and with a particularly self-explanatory icon. Posting statuses is the thing that gets Facebook moving, and so it’d seem obvious to dedicate a portion of the screen to it. Upon tapping this, a floating ‘Status’ box would appear for the user to insert their words of wisdom of their pictures of parties.
Let’s move on to the next part by swiping the news feed to the left.
Facebook is also a widely used method of communicating with certain friends directly, using the chat mechanic. Now, no self-respecting Facebook application could actually leave the ability to message your friends out – not without sacrificing users that need the feature at least. It’d be a no brainer to include a messaging section, especially one with easy access.
All conversations would be presented in a Google Now styled card, to keep to the theme, and each card would show a reasonable snippet (with a cutoff of three lines) of the conversation, as well as giving the user the option to reply to the message without going to any additional screens. This would boost efficiency and mean that the user would get more done, and faster.
However, if you needed to read the whole conversation, you could expand it, and view it on the same screen as the rest of your messages. The card would grow vertically and allow you to read all messages in a prior thirty day period, with the option to load more if need be. The conversation could then be collapsed once read.
Photo’s and other media would also be added through the same screen, via the ‘+’ button to the left of the ‘Reply’ box, because you can’t send all party photos to everyone … .
But of course, that’s not all – we still need to take a look at our Friends!
Viewing your friends can be a pain on Facebook, especially with the official app. You have to go into their profile to actually see any information about them. However, with this interface, all of your friends are presented in a ‘stream’ of cards, with their self-posted ‘bio’ style information showing in the card – right there. Ready for consumption by the searching user.
Tapping these friends would take you to more information, for example their birthday (and the ability to set a calendar reminder for it, wouldn’t want to forget the presents would you), and also other information like their relationship status’.
In conclusion I’d think that the ‘Google Now’ styled ‘cards’ would work well with Facebook as a website, and would make for a far better application. Sadly, you can’t expect this to be an app any time soon (unless some brave developer somewhere decides to take this up) – but it’s the Facebook I’d use. My ideal Facebook
And through all of these, you’ve always been able to post a status with the push of a button, because why leave that behind?