Change is coming to Facebook pages. Again. On August 23, Facebook is eliminating boxes (and their corresponding tabs) from pages and taking the width of custom tabs down to 520 pixels. The goal is to “simplify navigation for users, reduce complexity for developers, and enable us to build the next generation of tools.” Let’s take a look at these two first.
Bye Bye Boxes
As part of the developer roadmap announced in Oct. 2009, Facebook is removing “the ‘Boxes’ tab, boxes on profiles and Pages, and application info sections” from Facebook pages. The change will become effective on Aug. 23. Boxes were an easy way to add a “catchall” tab to your Facebook page – whatever didn’t merit one of the other six spots (or, really, four spots when you consider that the wall and info tabs are permanent) could be added as a box to your boxes tab. It also improved the likelihood that a user would see the content buried under your tabs.
Some common uses:
- Event listings for pages with less frequent events
- RSS feed listings – all your feeds in one area
- Popouts on the page sidebar – another easy way to jam in more information
As of Aug. 23, the only way to integrate applications into Facebook pages will be through the tabs at the top of the page. But don’t waste your time shedding too many tears. It’s likely that the vast majority of visitors to your page weren’t using your boxes. And they certainly weren’t clicking on that Boxes tab.
Most Facebook page visitors see one of two tabs – the targeted landing tab for non-fans, which is hopefully a custom tab giving them a quick synopsis and encouraging them to click the “Like” button, or the Wall that is the default page for all fans. Make sure any content hidden on tabs is also posted as part of your feed – it’s the best way to ensure your visitors are likely to see it.
The Skinny on Tab Width
Custom tabs on Facebook – most commonly created with Static FBML – are currently limited to 760 pixels in width. That’s known as the canvas size.
“Application tabs (including static FBML tabs) will be the only way to integrate applications into profiles and Pages. Application tabs will shrink from 760 pixels wide (today) to 520* pixels wide to accommodate a slightly revised design. Boxes, info sections, and the Boxes tab will be removed in the near future.
In the longer term we are evaluating a number of new and interesting ways for you to help users express connections to your applications as a part of their identity. You can expect to see some of this thought emerge in future iterations of the profile.
*Note: We previously stated that profile tabs would be shrinking to 510 pixels. Our latest designs indicate they will instead be 520 pixels. We’ll keep this page updated with the latest information.”
Starting now, page admins can preview how losing 1/3 of the page will effect the look and feel of the page. In short, custom tabs are getting the same navigation sidebar on the left as the wall and info tabs. Properly formatted tabs now fit snugly inside the center column.
Page admins should begin making changes to make their tabs compliant ahead of the change. No doubt major application providers such as Involver will be tweaking their applications to fit the new size. Currently, things aren’t pretty.
Have you redesigned your tabs to fit the new width? Did you make any other big changes during the process? We’d love to see your tabs – share your link in the comments.