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  • Facebook to limit app tab pages to 520 pixels – 240px less!

    Update: August 10, 2010:
    Facebook is previewing the reduced-width application tab changes. See our blog post on the 520px application tab width reductions and the implications.

    Update: May 27, 2010:
    A “Facebook spokesman” told Inside Facebook that the changes to application tab widths “will likely happen in late July, but we’ll give Page administrators at least two weeks notice before making this change regardless of when it happens.”

    Um, okay. Let’s see what happens….

    Pre-May 27, 2010

    This morning I read a very interesting post by Michael Lazerow of BuddyMedia.com about Facebook’s upcoming changes to Fan Pages.

    There are a number of changes that will affect marketers who’ve been working Facebook, but for me, as a Web designer, the one that caused the most pain was Facebook’s intention of reducing the width of application pages from 760 pixels to 520 pixels.

    The first thing I did was look for another authoritative source of this and, unfortunately, I found it on Facebook’s Developer site where, in stark red type, they state: “Important: In late 2009/early 2010, application tabs will be 520 pixels wide. For more information, please read the Developer Roadmap.” On the Developer Roadmap:

    Application Tabs will be the only way to integrate applications into profiles and Pages. Application tabs will shrink from 760 pixels wide (today) to 520* pixels wide to accommodate a slightly revised design. Boxes, info sections, and the Boxes tab will be removed in the near future.

    Now that’s a BIG difference and all the brands/businesses who’ve labored over creating custom pages using apps like Static FBML are going to have to rethink those pages, now that they have 240 fewer pixels to work with. Here’s what the maximum width will look like (example from a recent page we created, anticipating the reduction):

    So I and a whole lot of Web designers have their work cut out for them, so to speak.

    Of course, the question is, What happens to that 240 pixels of new real estate Facebook has available to use for itself? Is this a “land grab” by Facebook?

    Other resources:

    Facebook Developer Site

    Michael Lazerow’s Blog Post on MediaPost

    InsideFacebook.com (Justin Smith)

    Comments

    1. This is definitely not good news for us designers who have already done work for ourselves and clients using the FBML application on facebook… 240 pixels is not a little tweak. It calls for a redesign… Backgrounds need to change, images and text re-shuffled… Then again, those clients would have to hire us back to edit those pages… mmmm…

    2. Do we know if this has been implemented yet?

    3. Also, is it just the tabs at the top that are restricted to 520px or will it be the content divs as well??!!!

    4. Brandon Faulkner says:

      Has there been any indication given as to how these pages will degrade if/once they reduce the width of these pages?

      Side-scrolling is obviously not preferable, but it would be better than the whole layout breaking.

      • Not that I’m aware of, Brandon. We’ve got, I guess, till the end of the month before it’s officially no longer “early 2010″ (when Facebook said they’d be reducing the width). June would be mid-2010 :) I find Facebook to be completely oblivious to the concerns of developers as regards their API. The support is random, at best.

    5. Do you know if the Static FBML will still be available as a box, moved-to-wall item and not just a tab? How will we be able to post links and graphics on a business page’s wall?

    6. I have noticed some changes today. Pictures on my fbml tabs have changed and became smaller.
      So, that happened?

    7. Trevor Green says:

      It’s their site, it is their platform, but it is everyone else’s dev dollars. And everyone else’s information. If they do make this change I hope there is a class action lawsuit on behalf of the people that are losing real estate on designs that they developed.

      Once you reach a certain level of ubiquitousness you can expect that the interests of the millions of people that are your customers and users, their interests trump yours. That is the danger of using a service like this in its infancy. There is not a large body of law that governs it so they will continue to push until they have taken everything they possibly can in exchange for what will be considered minor social features in the future.

      For me this feels like breaking an unspoken agreement. It would similar to getting free hosting for a website in exchange for a banner ad, and then one day having them come along and double the size of the banner and munge up your content.

      Unfortunately the logical solution, a mass migration away from a company that pulls this kind of stunt. We will likely just adapt because they have us by the balls.

      Of course, maybe they just said they were going to do it to see if people went along with it. They will likely wait until a large enough percentage have converted before they ever pull a stunt like this.

      Or not do it at all.

    8. This is the kind of things that will Drop me out of facebook.
      Who will pay for the work for the width adoption… my customers will be very angry !!!!

      • Yeah, I feel your pain. Facebook announced this width reduction last Fall and we’ve been developing Static FBML tabs at 520 pixels ever since to avoid the problem you’re upset about. It may be easier for you to make all your application tabs canvas apps than to redesign all the pages, as canvas apps can remain at 760 pixels.

    9. Meh! Everytime I perfect things on Facebook, they go and change something. First I learn FBML, then that gets phased out. Now, I perfect my 760px pages, and now I have to squeeze them down to 520px??!

    Trackbacks

    1. [...] Maximum width of FBML page is 760px (However, Facebook has announced this will be reduced to 520px in later 2009/early 2010.); [...]

    2. [...] (You want to use the narrower player because Facebook plans to reduce the width of Application Tabs from 760px to 520px in late February/early March 2010 (See my post on the Facebook Fan Page width reduction.) [...]

    3. [...] Tab width changing from 760 to 520 pixels [Discussed in a previous HyperArts post] [...]