The architecture of information:
A big change is coming to the Facebook mobile app over the next few weeks. Yesterday, the company announced that it’s redesigning their mobile app navigation bar. This is the bar you see at the bottom of the iOS app (and the top of the Android app) with shortcuts to the most important parts of the Facebook information environment:
The issue, of course, is that “most important” is relative: what’s most important to me may be completely irrelevant to you. For example, see that “shop” icon in the center of that screenshot above? That’s for the Facebook Marketplace, the company’s eBay competitor. I never use Marketplace — in fact, I sometimes annoyingly end up there because I mis-tap that center icon. I wish I could have something else instead of Marketplace in that nav bar, and that indeed seems to be what’s coming.
Soon, Facebook will start rolling out a version of the app that changes the primary shortcuts for each user of the application. Initially, the choices will be based on usage, but eventually the app will allow you to choose which shortcuts you want on the bar. (Well, all except three. You won’t be able to change the shortcuts to the newsfeed, notifications, and main menu. That makes sense, as those are undoubtedly the most important parts of the Facebook environment.)
While we haven’t gotten a glimpse of how Facebook plans to implement this feature, I’m reminded of the customizable main navigation bar of my favorite Twitter client, Tweetbot:
See those up and down arrows in the two rightmost icons? That means you can long-press those to get more options:
This allows you to customize two of the five shortcuts in the navigation bar. It’s not something you use all the time, but it’s convenient to have; a detail that makes the app more useful and personal. Is this what Facebook is doing? I don’t know — but I hope it is. I have very little use for the Marketplace and Video links in the navigation bar, and wish I could change them to something more useful.