The advent of high-powered smartphones with large screens has triggered a boom in the usage of mobile Internet. More people, than ever before, are accessing their social media accounts through their phones. As a leader in this space, Facebook saw it fit to make several design tweaks to their mobile app in order to provide a better experience for their users. Their styling choices have become the benchmarks for others who wish to create effective UIs for mobile platforms.
The foremost consideration is the small screen size on mobile phones. The typical range today is from 4 to 6 inches diagonal. Most laptop screens, meanwhile, range from 10 to 15 inches. Desktop screens could exceed 24 inches. Translating a site meant for desktop viewing into a suitable layout for mobile screens requires careful planning. The brand’s identity must be retained while adapting to the new platform. There should be as much information on the pages without causing users to experience mobile clutter.
This tough balancing act is something that Facebook continues to do as they think of fresh ways to present information with current developments. At the base of it all is a minimalist design that tries to make the most out of every precious pixel. Unnecessary items are ruthlessly cut down such that only the essentials remain. Users can quickly browse through the timeline without getting bogged down by details and oversized images.
Other elements are hidden under a layer and can be made to appear with a simple tap. This provides users with the power to see and do more if they so choose. For instance, the comments are hidden by default in the timeline to aid in browsing; but one tap on an interesting post and readers can view replies, as well as write their own responses.