When Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced the social network’s redesigned News Feed last March, he repeatedly referred to it as a “personalized newspaper.” And a new News Feed design the social network is currently testing, which was discovered by Fast Company’s Co.Design, indicates a further push to bring newspaper-like elements to Facebook’s primary destination.
Co.Design reported that Facebook is experimenting with a serif font for news headlines, adding that those typefaces are commonly used by newspapers for body copy, while sans-serif fonts such as Helvetica are more commonly used online. The screen shot above displays the current News Feed design on the left and the test on the right.
As shown in the screenshot below, the new typeface was also applied to right-hand-side ads.
Facebook confirmed the test to Co.Design, saying:
This is a small design test we are currently running. We are constantly testing new features across the site and have nothing more to share at this time.
Two executives from digital marketing agency 3Q Digital weighed in on Facebook’s News Feed test, with Chief Operating Officer Dave Yoo saying:
It’ll be interesting to see whether Facebook will repeat what it did in 2006, when it essentially “forced” News Feed onto its user base with plenty of backlash. This fundamental shift from the profile page navigation that MySpace popularized elevated Facebook’s stickiness dramatically and ended up being the standard for all social network user experiences thereafter. The stakes are higher now for Facebook, so I’ll be curious to see how hard it pushes on innovating at the potential expense of user backlash this time around.
Social Account Manager Alicia Antoniolli added:
When any change is made to allow advertisers to take up more real estate in the News Feed, it’s a good day. The headline will be larger and more readable, which is a win for advertisers. The needle was pushed considerably in September, when the News Feed underwent many changes. The link posts, showcased in this new update, were allowed much larger images and more ad text allowance, which pushed Facebook advertisers to consider it as a top ad unit. This possible new change is simply a slight move in the same direction.
Readers: What do you think of the typography change Facebook is testing?
Screenshots courtesy of Co.Design.