Most mornings, I wake up and turn my phone on to find a little red bubbles staring up at me from my phone: my applications are out of date. Without even thinking, I click into my Apps and hit “Update All” just to get rid of the red bubble and go about my day without even thinking twice. On a few of these occasions (they happen pretty often though) I view the update and read what updating these Apps are really doing for my phone. Usually, the update reads something like “Bug fixes” reassuring that it is nothing major, but other times, I’ll open my Apps to fine they have been changed entirely, giving me a completely knew, albeit sometimes frustrating, phone experience.
What we don’t realize is that there are massive studies and research dedicated to examining the way we look at and read websites. Our favorite social media sites experiment quite frequently with their webpages, constantly adjusting, for our consumer experience.
Facebook recently made massive changes to their iPhone Application, creating a web experience that, according to Mike Mata “is really focused on content discovery and content browsing.” Mata, the product designer for Facebook’s new web application, called Paper, specifically designed the new product with the Eye Tracking studies in mind. Paper, which took over a year to develop, is a part of Facebook’s ‘single purpose apps’ and follows in the footsteps of Facebook’s new applications like Messenger, and their recent updates to Instagram, to include the direct message feature. Paper will resemble the Facebook Home that we are all familiar with, only it has gotten rid of the Facebook buttons and other “distractions.” Facebook’s main concern regarding this new app was in making the Paper experience completely different from the web app, by making it much easier for consumers to view pictures and videos in their new full screen layout.
This research and commitment by our favorite websites (Facebook far from being the only one) says a lot about the role new media plays in shaping our everyday lives. It is technology, like Facebook’s Paper app, that has some people concerned with just how much technology is influencing today’s society. These updates have the capacity to change our web experience, absolutely. Paper and other applications alike are having a huge impact on how we as new media consumers physically consumer the media, and it will be interesting to see what these big brands, who spend millions of dollars on research, will come up with next.
Goel, V. (2014). Facebook unveils new tool to read posts and news. New York Times Bits, Retrieved from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/facebook-unveils-new-tool-to- read-posts-and-news/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
Puri, R. (2012). Usability lessons from website eye tracking studies. The DAily Egg, Retrieved from http://blog.crazyegg.com/2012/11/08/lessons-eye-tracking-studies/
Photo by Christina Tenuta