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Facebook Messenger’s ‘simpler’ interface just seems more complicated

Facebook Messenger is getting a UI makeover that aims to make navigation easier, but we're not 100% convinced that it succeeds in this regard.

Published onJune 16, 2016

messenger improvements

Facebook Messenger is pushing out an update that changes the standard interface in a variety of intriguing ways. The previous vision of the UI was pretty straightforward: a list of your conversations in descending chronological order from the last time you engaged them, and a set of tabs riding along up top to access calling capabilities, group chats, lists of active users, and your own personal profile. If you wanted to start a new conversation, you just tapped the floating plus button and searched for a name to message.

Now Facebook is saying that they’re making this UI a lot easier to navigate, which is kind of hard to imagine. In fact, the changes that we’re looking at seem kind of needlessly complicated. Instead of a simple chronological list, Messenger will now be broken into chunks. You’ll see a list of your most frequently contacted friends, a list of people who are having a birthday, and a running tally of who is currently active among your friends. There’s a search bar up top, and the tabs whose position it usurps now hangs out at the bottom of the screen.

facebook messenger update
Facebook Messenger is getting ads

Maybe we’re being a bit curmudgeonly about this, but it kind of seems like a case of fixing what ain’t broke. It’s possible that Messenger is redesigning the interface to pave the way for its new ad system, which will see users chatting with businesses directly. The old chronological model would quickly bury any monetized conversations, so by breaking the interface into chunks, Messenger has a place to quietly direct you to -ahem- recommended chats. This is of course just a theory, but it’s no secret that the social giant is actively pursuing ways to increase revenue from its messaging platforms, and ads are definitely on the way. There’s a reason the company is doing everything they can to funnel users to the dedicated app.

What are your thoughts regarding this ‘improved’ user interface on Facebook Messenger? Are we being a bit overly critical? Maybe you find this kind of setup a bit more comfortable. Either way, let us know your take in the comments below!

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