Pandora, Facebook Show Off Major New UI Changes

Brad Chacos

When you’re getting ready for the big dance, you slip into something nice, clean and pretty to try and put your best foot forward for the crowd. Two major sites did that today. Facebook doffed the equivalent of a new pair of shoes in anticipation of tomorrow’s F8 conference, drastically changing users’ News Feeds while keeping the rest of the layout the same. Pandora took the opposite route; they overhauled their ensemble from the ground up in a quest to impress. Unfortunately, one of them dashed its prom queen hopes after getting a big FAIL from unhappy users.

Facebook’s redesign breaks the old two-tabbed News Feed into a single, mammoth News Feed that combines both Top Stories and Most Recent posts in a single interface. Facebook picks its Top Stories from a number of factors, including how many Likes posts get as well as your relationship to the poster, and displays them in the News Feed with a blue tab in the corner to differentiate them from other recent posts. You’ll only get Top Stories that have been posted since you were last online. So far, the user response has been overwhelmingly negative, like it always is when Facebook makes a change. Check out #NewFacebook on Twitter to bask in the rage.

The new Pandora Interface

Meanwhile, Pandora’s redesign achieves a few major things; it takes the already-polished interface and gives it a spit-shine (whether or not it’s for the better is up to user taste), ditches Flash in favor of HTML5 and JavaScript – perhaps to get ready for the Flash-less Windows 8 Metro? – and perhaps most importantly, gets rid of the previous 40 hours per month limit for free tunes. According to the Pandora blog , the site also plans on rolling out a social network-inspired “New music feed” to make it easier to share songs and playlists with other folks.

So whaddaya think? Do either of the UI tweaks do it for you, or do you miss your old Pandora and Facebook?

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