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Oct 01

Small things; How Facebook and Twitter share new features

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This is incredibly anal, but I appreciated it. When Facebook launched their new look and feel, it started out on a beta site, and then migrated to become the default. For what feels like a looooong time, I have seen this header:

Facebook New

The problem is that I get it. I know now. Let me get rid of the header please!

Twitter on the other hand did a really good job with this. When they launched the election subsite I started to see this:

Twitter Election Header

Once I internalized that I could click on the ” X ” close icon and it would minimize to this:

Twitter Election Minimized

Minimized allows me to get back to it if I want, but without taking much real estate. There have been some issues where it doesn’t seem to remember that setting, but in general I like this kind of implementation. On the right hand side they have a little box for their new look and feel that says “Notice something different? Read about the changes.” I wish that had an ” X ” too, without minimize, as again… I know it is new, and I don’t need to read about it anymore :)

5 Responses to “Small things; How Facebook and Twitter share new features”

  1. Iraê Says:

    This could be a simple, yet useful thing to implement with HTML5 local database (or gears maybe). They could keep a local copy of a series of actions already taken by the user (i.e. closed that sign, personalized the template, used this or that new feature, etc) and adjust the interface accordingly.

    Cookies could become too big to be usefull here and server databese storage could cost more to the site them it benefits from the feature.

    Great post. This kind of thing always annoys me too.

  2. Daniel Shaw Says:

    Glad to know that clicking on the ‘X’ minimizes the election bar. I never clicked on it because I had assumed that it would go away (”close”). Some sort of minimize icon might have been more semantic. Maybe even a slightly modified down arrow that would match the restore indicator, but not appear to be a drop down menu.

  3. Scott Morgan Says:

    Another option would be to store the persistent data in a Flash Shared Object. A lot of sites are doing this now. Load a small 5×5 pixel swf on to the page, use javascript to communicate with the swfs API (which are just hooks into the getters and setters of the Shared Object). You can even roll back to flash 8 or 7 so you can almost be guaranteed that everyone has the proper player on their system, if they don’t have Flash you can just use standard cookies. Shared Objects are a lot more difficult to accidently delete. If you really wanted to get fancy you could use the AS3 corelib library and store a JSON object in the shared object (this approach would require Flash Player 9).

  4. Brendan Gibson Says:

    Have to disagree with you there, Dion. I find the twitter bar incredibly annoying. Every time you refresh the page – it’s back up there…

  5. dion Says:

    @Iraê – Good idea, that would be cool.

    @Daniel – Yah, you are right. The X should be a minimize.

    @Scott – SWF FTW :)

    @Brendan – I agree. They need to keep track of that so it doesn’t pop back up :)

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