UPDATE (Feb 11, 2011): It appears Facebook has fixed the reduced-width issue. Phew!
NOTE: Page Admins: DO NOT UPGRADE TO THE NEW DESIGN UNTIL YOU PREVIEW IT FIRST!
Today, Facebook announced the anticipated changes to Fan Pages. After a bumpy start — Page tab width was temporarily reduced to 492px, creating quite an outcry! — things seem to have settled down.
But as the dust settles, and Page admins begin to work within the confines of the new layout, one begins to see the downside to these new “improvements”…..
The Changes, as Presented by Facebook
- Photos at the top: The most recent photos that you post to the Wall of a Page you admin, or photos you tag your Page in, will appear here. This area will not include any photos posted by people who like your Page.
- Use Facebook as your Page: You will be able to receive notifications for your Page, view a News Feed for your Page, and like and post on other Pages as your Page.
- Wall filters: Pages now have two publicly visible Wall filters-”Posts by Page” and “Everyone.” Page admins will be able to view additional filters-”Most Recent” and “Hidden Posts.”
- Email notifications: You can opt to receive notifications when people post or comment on your Page.
- Featured Pages and admins: You can feature other Pages your Page likes, or admins of your Page, in the new “Likes” and “Page Owners” sections on the left side of your Page.
- Mutual connections: When people visit your Page, they will be able to view friends who also like your Page, as well as other Pages that both they and your Page like.
- Navigation: The content that you formerly accessed by clicking the tabs at the top of your Page can now be found in the column underneath your Page profile picture. The text in the box that used to appear in the box underneath your Page profile picture will now appear in the Info tab.
- Profile picture size: The profile picture size for Pages has been adjusted from 200×600 to 180×540.
Yes, there are definitely some nice new features there, but they’re offset by a number of changes that significantly diminish the control Page admins have over the presentation of Page content. And, with the termination of the Static FBML application, reduce the options of the “amateur coder.”
Email Alerts to Page Admins When There’s Wall Activity
One new feature, long desired but missing from Facebook, was a notification feature where Page admins are notified of postings on their Wall. Into this vacuum stepped a couple of services providing this, MonitorMyPage (paid) and HyperAlerts (free – I use it and love it). Well, HyperAlerts is fighting back, in an email I just received this morning, touting their notifications as superior to Facebook’s (and they actually are). I doubt MonitorMyPage will survive, though, as who’ll now actually pay for this service?
Those who admin many Pages (such as myself) can set the Notification settings from a single place. From any of your managed Pages:
- Click on “Edit Page” then click on “Your Settings”;
- Click “View all email settings for your pages”;
- Click “Change email settings for individual Pages” under the “Pages” section;
- In the pop-up window, check/uncheck your preference for each Page you admin.
Thanks to Heather Dopson!
Bye Bye Static FBML — App to be Pulled on March 11, 2011
On this blog and elsewhere we had speculated that Facebook would keep Static FBML around for a long time due to its extreme popularity and wide use by individuals and brands large and small.
Well, wrong on that! On the Facebook Developer Blog, they announced today:
With our recent launch of Requests and the support for iframe on Pages Tabs, we are now ready to move forward with our previously announced plans to deprecate FBML and FBJS as a primary technology for building apps on Facebook. On March 11, 2011, you will no longer be able to create new FBML apps and Pages will no longer be able to add the Static FBML app. While all existing apps on Pages using FBML or the Static FBML app will continue to work, we strongly recommend that these apps transition to iframes as soon as possible.
This means that if you already have the Static FBML application added to your Page before March 11, 2011, it will work and your custom tabs will work.
Will you be able to add new Static FBML tabs if you installed the app before March 11? I don’t know. The limit is 10 custom tabs, but Facebook may freeze the ability to add more once the change takes place. However, they’ve only said that they’re discontinuing the ability to add the app to a Fan Page.
Cat Lee, Product Marketing Manager at Facebook, says that after March 11 admins will still have the ability to edit their custom Static FBML tabs, although she strongly recommends migrating to iFrames. (Thanks to Nathan Latka for passing this along!)
You Can’t Create a Cool Photo Tile Effect with Any Precision
When the new layout was first rolled out for Personal Profiles, users could control the order and selection of the 5 photo thumbnails, resulting in some nice effects:
Unfortunately, as Facebook states in their Help Center, they have removed this control on Fan Pages:
The five most recent photos that you have published or tagged your Page in are displayed randomly at the top of your Page. (Emphasis added.)
On Personal Profiles, those top 5 pictures appear based on the order in which you tag them as yourself. But it’s random on Fan Pages.
We decided to just turn the randomness to our advantage on the upgraded HyperArts Fan Page.
No More Top Tabs
I’m fairly sure that Page admins aren’t going to be too happy with the elimination of the 6 blue top tabs on Fan Pages, with this:
replaced with this, positioned below the Profile Pic:
As the Inside Facebook blog notes, “As tabs are no longer front-and-center, the redesign could reduce the frequency with which users visits tabs other than the default landing tab.”
And note those little gray icons, which represent the soon-to-be-eliminated Static FBML application.
Implications for the Amateur Coder — DIY Takes a Hit
What was so great about the Static FBML application is that it allowed folks with minimal skills to create their own custom tabs without having to hire a developer, or they could purchase a template and paste it into the Static FBML box and — presto! — they’d have a custom tab.
However, with the change to iFrames, users will need to be familiar with uploading HTML and CSS files to hosting servers, setting up iFrames, troubleshooting the various issues, etc. This just may eliminate the Casual Coder from the mix.
We’ll just have to see how it all shakes out….