Facebook is giving its antiquated user profiles a makeover, introducing new features that it hopes will allow people to better convey their interests, personalities, and lives through the social network, reports USA Today.
In a press release issued Wednesday, the tech company outlined a series of changes that are being tested that will overhaul both the design layout and functionality of users’ profile pages.
In terms of visual format, Facebook has chosen to play safe over the years, preferring familiarity, and page designs that have remained largely unchanged.
The first hint toward more dynamic and visually engaging pages was dropped earlier this year when Facebook made a long overdue change, beginning to host the playback of animated GIFs within the site, rather than having to follow an external link to play them.
So it may come as no surprise that Facebook is now offering users the opportunity to upload a profile video, in addition to the standard profile picture and cover photo, bringing motion to what was previously a static page.
Users will be able to use a short, looping video or animation clip, in the mould of Vine or Instagram, that will be public, and play when any visitor lands on your Facebook profile page.
The actual profile picture function will be changed as well, with the introduction of a tool that enables users to set a temporary version of their Facebook profile picture, which then reverts back to a previous picture within a specified time frame.
Citing the popularity of the Pride filter over the summer, when more than 26 million people changed their profile picture to celebrate equal marriage rights, Facebook believes this new function will allow users celebrate a cause or moment, that represents what is happening in the world at large or their individual lives at a given time.
Facebook describes this tool as a ” visual status update” which allows you to “let your friends know what’s going on in your life today,” or express “solidarity for a cause you feel strongly about.”
A new customizable space has been added to the top of Facebook profile pages, a space that users can curate to display what they want the public to know about them.
There is also a new one-line Bio field, again in the same vein as Instagram or Twitter, where you can give a brief description of yourself (usually something attempting wit or sarcasm).
Users can also select specific About fields such as work and education details to be public.
If you want to use photos to express something more about your life and interests, you can also choose up to five Featured Photos that will be showcased at the top of your Facebook profile in addition to the cover photo, creating more mosaic based arrangement.
Design changes to the Facebook profile page layout mean that the main profile picture and video are now centered and bigger, giving a more symmetrical and bolder feel.
Facebook encapsulated the reasons behind these changes in their press release when they declared the aim to “make their profiles the best place for people to curate their online identities.”
If Facebook wants to sustain their user base and indeed grow it, these types of changes to what has become a stale and visually bland, albeit popular, platform are necessary, and some may feel they haven’t gone far enough.
But the clear move towards offering users a richer, more enticing, multimedia experience in how you represent yourself on the site is perhaps a sign of things to come.
At present, these changes will only apply to the mobile version of Facebook, and to a limited number of members using Apple’s iPhone iOS platform in California and the UK, before an eventual wider rollout.
[Images via Facebook]