(UPDATED) My first look at the new Facebook Pages design and Timeline

by Colleen on February 29, 2012 · 0 comments



Pollak Library's Facebook Page cover photo

I just started playing around a bit with the new Facebook Pages design that became available to all Pages this morning (March 30th is the forced deadline to migrate to the new design). The redesign incorporates the still controversial Timeline as well as some new additional features. I will continue to test out the new design and features all week, but here are my initial observations.

NOTE: Post updated at 2:00pm.

How the new Page design looks

Facebook Pages Timeline - Public View

Public view of the new Pages design

The new layout looks identical to Timeline for personal Facebook Profiles, except for two immediately noticeable differences:

  • New “Message” Button:Pages can now receive private Messages from other Facebook users, just like Facebook users have been able to do for years with their personal Profiles.
    • Unlike Messaging for personal Profiles and for Groups, no type of notification or alert is sent to your Page administrators or displayed in their personal Alerts menu. My fellow team of Page administrators had to go to that particular Page, and then toggle on the “Use Facebook as [Page Name]” option — now listed under the new “Manage” menu. This needs to be fixed; Like personal Profiles and Groups, admins do receive an email message when someone sends a Message to their Page, assuming each admin opts in to the Email Notifications accessible in Edit Page/Your Settings Mode (when I first tested this functionality out this morning, Facebook must have been experiencing a delay in sending notifications.  Admins can also check for new Messages by two different means:
      • While Using Facebook as Yourself: Go to your Page. Any new and old (if not deleted) Messages will appear along the right side of your new Admin Panel. You will also see a red Notification alert button there if you have received new Messages.
      • While Using Facebook as Your Page: You can see Message activity via the above method, but you will also see a red Message Notification alert along the site-wide persistent Facebook navigation menu at the very top of your screen — where you normally see new Notification alerts for your personal Profile.
    • Both Fans and Non-Fans can use the new Message feature, however the Message button is not visible to non-authenticated users (i.e., the general Public), which makes sense.
    • Page admins can opt out of allowing Facebook users to privately Message their Page by deselecting this option in the Edit Page/Manage Permissions setting now accessible  via the “Manage” menu in the new Activity Panel.
  • New Top 4 “Tab Apps” Menu:Like Timeline for personal Profiles, the familiar menu Tabs (which are actually all apps) that run down the left sidebar of your Page are now gone.  Instead this menu is now displayed under your Cover photo.
    • However, only your top 4 Tabs (apps) are immediately visible; users need to click the drop-down arrow next to this menu to expand the full menu and see all available Tabs.
    • Page admins can drag and drop these Tabs to reorder and hand-select which “top 4″ to display in that initial menu view.
    • Just like with the old Pages format, any Tabs that you choose to make visible and accessible to Non-Fans remain visible to both Non-Fans and non-authenticated Public users. This continued functionality is super important to my library since we want all of our students, faculty and staff to be able to use our custom “Research Tools” tab app — even if they don’t use Facebook.
Facebook Pages Timeline - admin view

Admin view of the new Pages design.

For Page administrators, the biggest difference is the new mini Admin Panel at the top of the Page.  This new Panel allows admins to quickly view Notifications, New Likes, and recent Insights.  Note the new admin menus located in the top right corner of the Admin Panel — the biggest change here is the ability to “Invite Email Contacts” to your Page using the new “Build Audience” menu.  Page admins can also toggle on and off this new Panel.

Facebook Page Redesign: Public Users

Public (non-authenticated) view of the new Pages design. Note that the Message button is not visible. And even though it looks like non-authenticated users should be able to Post to our Timeline wall, attempting to do so promptly directs users to log in to Facebook.

New moderation feature in the Pages redesign

Pages now support the ability for admins to moderate posts by other Pages and other Facebook users. While the old design only allowed admins to choose between allowing or disallowing posts, comments, links, etc. from other users on their Facebook Page, admins now have the third option of hiding all non-admin activity until an admin personally chooses to make that activity publicly visible on the new Page Timeline. This can be toggled on and off from the Edit Page/Manage Permissions setting, in “Post Visibility”, now accessible via the “Manage” menu in the new Activity Panel.

This does not appear to moderate Comments to your own Posts.

Facebook Pages Redesign: Permissions Changes

The new moderation and review feature can be enabled or disabled (it’s disabled by default) from the Permissions settings.

Although I would not recommend this feature to most Page admins, I have consulted with organizations that work under very restrictive social media policies, or that don’t yet have adequate buy-in from leadership. Often times, these organizations refrain from allowing a Facebook Page altogether, or simply don’t allow any posting from fans. In these cases, using this new moderation and review process might make Facebook a more palatable option.

How to make the switch to the new Pages design

To access the new Pages design, simply read the “helpful” instructions that Facebook now plasters across the top of your Page. You can test out the new design by selecting the Preview button, but your new look won’t go live until you choose to Publish it — at least, that’s an option until March 30th when Facebook makes the redesign mandatory for all pages.

Facebook Pages Timeline - preview

Note the Preview option in the banner at the top of your Page.

Facebook Pages Timeline - preview mode

If you want to move forward with the new design prior to March 30th, click on the Publish button while still in Preview mode.

Learn More

To learn more about all the new features, quirks and options with the Facebook Pages redesign, I recommend you check out the following sources (alphabetically listed):

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