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November 14, 2011

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Stephen Kolozsvary

Hi There Jan,

Internet perambulation brought me back around here. Very well written and very interesting. When describing UIs it is a metaphor for a metaphor. Very meta. I have sent some links around to some developer pals. SK

Bruce Burger

The Facebook side panel has some other quirks/features. If the window is wide enough, it moves to the right of the column containing calendar updates and ads, and in that case leaps up to the top of the window (level with the Facebook blue banner and *above* the white area containing the "Update Status" button. I guess that makes sense.

What bothers me more is the novel scroll bar for the live feed. It doesn't look like anything else I've ever seen, and its relationship to the main window scroll bar is odd: If window has 3 columns (as in your screenshots, with the live feed above the ads), the main scoll bar scrolls just the left 2 columns while leaving the right column (live feed), calendar stuff, and ads) static (after that initial jump). But if the window is widened until it has 4 columns, the main scroll bar scrolls the left 3 columns (including the ads, leaving a big blank space) while rightmost column stays in place. I doubt this troubles users but it could probably be better thought out.

Also, if fb really wants to emphasize the "Update Status" button, they should keep it visible rather than scrolling it away. But that's another topic.

Jan Miksovsky

Bruce: Thanks for your comments. I myself don't see the four column behavior you describe, no matter how wide I make the window. Facebook is known for bucket testing (a.k.a. A/B testing) many ideas simultaneously, so one of us is probably in a test condition.

The live feed scroll bar looks carefully designed to mimic a Mac OS/X scroll bar; I'm assuming you mostly use Windows? FB's live feed pane includes infinite scrolling, which likely complicates their options for tying its scroll behavior into that of the overall page.

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