When Facebook rolled out a new interface for users earlier this year, it eliminated a number of features that promoted developer applications on the site. Now Facebook is salvaging the Recently Used section of the Applications menu after discovering that people actually use it.
The great Facebook overhaul of 2008 was met with fairly universal confusion when it was unfurled unexpectedly earlier this year. Users had to relearn how to use the site and developers found their applications buried on a separate tab of the user profile.
Now I admit to being slightly gleeful to see and hear less from many Facebook applications that simply spam your friends’ with requests to join. However I have to admit that my usage of other applications that I actually enjoyed has also slipped.
Now when you click on the Applications Menu in the footer bar, the first few Applications will be ones that you’ve used recently but not yet bookmarked. Once you bookmark an application, you’ll have its icon easily accessible in the bottom bar throughout Facebook.
While this may sound like a complex two-step for developers to find their way back onto users’ center of attention, it’s actually a very simple way to promote the applications that people use the most. The best thing about the Recently Used menu is that it promotes applications that you actually used without being the least bit spammy.
Many members of the Facebook developer community have been disillusioned about creating deeper functionality for the platform since the redesign. This could have been a small offering to help re-engage lost developers, albeit a small one.
Instead the announcement emphasized that the feature was re-introduced solely based on testing usage patterns on the site. While I agree that the design should ultimately be about what users want, why not highlight the fact that users really do want easy access to their favorite applications?