Facebook is always tweaking its design, and while even the subtlest of changes elicits millions of complaint-driven status updates, most people grow to accept even major changes over time. Remember how much everyone hated Timeline and then just accepted it out of the blue? Still, we have to question Facebook’s newest design tweak of swapping the “search” field with the “notifications” tabs. Don’t worry, they’re only testing the adjustment and haven’t implemented it … yet.
Inside Facebook posted a screenshot of the minor design adjustment which moves the search bar to the left and the three icons (Friend Requests, Messages, Notifications) all the way to the right. To head off some early criticism, The Next Web reached out to Facebook to ask what the heck is going on with the design shift. “This is just a test, we have nothing more to share at this time,” a spokesperson said.
So why the design adjustment? A running theory of the now suggests that Facebook is trying to focus on the search function more now than it has in the past, including the words “search for people, places and things” in the bar in June, and a “search the web” function added in July. It’d be sort of a shady move, because you’ve been conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs to click left when a notification pops up. Under the new design, you’d habitually be clicking into an empty search field before you realize your mistake.
TechCrunch has offered probably the most reasonable theory thus far: that Facebook is trying to re-condition you to look to the right where the ads and gifts dwell. It’s a pretty cunning marketing move, especially since the right of the Facebook page offers virtually nothing except for Facebook chat, which I honestly haven’t used since 2009, and I’d venture a guess that the same goes for most of you as well.
What do you think? Would you embrace a modest Facebook design shift of putting notifications on the right and the search field on the left? Do you think it makes sense, or are you in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” camp?