Following in the footsteps of countless other companies, Facebook announced today that it will roll out an update to its iOS app that will overhaul its look on iPhone and iPad to bring it in line with Apple’s design practices for iOS 7.
In addition to the now seemingly-required flat aesthetic, Facebook is also rolling out a brand new navigation paradigm, reminiscent of what Apple has been doing with the Music app on iOS for the past several years. Rather than rely on their usual twin-sidebar design, which is currently shared between Facebook’s website and their mobile apps, the company is moving to an interface that relies on a bottom navigation bar.
That’s a big change for a company with more than 800 million users using its mobile products every month. According to a report by The Verge, it’s hardly a change Facebook jumped into lightly.
In fact, the social networking giant has been secretly testing different iterations of the mobile app with small subsets of its user base to see how changes affect the way people use the app. The latest redesign has already been tested, thanks to users who probably didn’t realize they were the company’s guinea pigs.
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.