Facebook is a multi-headed social Hydra. There is the original platform built around the newsfeed. numerous takeovers, from the photo sharing platform Instagram to the international communications company Whatsapp; and spin-offs like Messenger, which is available within the Facebook mainframe and as a standalone app. The company has been accused of sending spam alerts on its main site, once overloading popular apps like Instagram with unwanted new features, and purposely crafting all of its apps to grab our attention. But on Tuesday it was announced that Messenger is getting easier.

Instead of introducing loads of new features or filling each page with features and graphics, Messenger's fourth iteration is reduced to key features. Yes, there are new bubbles for message bubbles, the usual range of infinite gifs and stickers as well as an optimization of the logo. However, users will also see a serious Marie Kondo-ing (author of the bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Clearing) as Messenger revives the busy trend and reduces the nine existing tabs to just three - chats, people, and discover.

The origins of Messenger date back more than a decade to Facebook Chat, which debuted in 2008. The nested network within the larger social network acted as a kind of instant messaging service - a somewhat simpler AIM. In 2011, the chat service was introduced as a standalone app for iOS and Android phones. Today, Messenger supports text-based notes and photos, voice calls and video chats, and even games. It can be used with or without Facebook account. According to the parent company now use 1.3 billion people every month the communication service.

With the mature users of Messenger are also integrated features The app now includes a Venmo-like feature that allows money to be sent directly through the app, and new ways to decorate messages such as stickers and emojis, all of which help customers to address on most continents. However, some argued that continued growth made the platform unwieldy, crowded or uninviting - three things an attention-based service never wanted. So Messenger decided to get back to basics.

Declaring an app is easy: just throw out the features you do not like and take advantage of the rest. However, the simplification of the platform took about two years and the expertise of interface designers, researchers with a keen eye for human behavior and test users from eight countries to get the right results.



"Together with our research team, messenger designers travel frequently to see how the app is used by people everywhere," said Loredana Crisan, Product Design Director of Messenger, via email to PopSci. Many communication preferences seem to be universal, she says. Seven out of ten respondents report that app usability is the most important feature - a stat that encouraged the design team to streamline the app.

The researchers also found that the small draft button in the top right corner was not as important as they thought, according to messenger product chief, Stan Chudnovsky. Instead of starting a conversation from scratch, most users found the friend they wanted to view by browsing through the latest conversations. For this reason, the newly launched chat tab has been cleaned up and offers more chats at first glance. You can see six recent news in Facebook's press, compared to only four in the previous version.

Other news preferences seem to be shaped by regional culture and present a challenge to the developers of an app with global demand. "In some countries, such as Romania, my home country, people spend a lot of time making voice calls while text-chatting in the US is more common, "writes Crisan. "Another difference we often see is visual sharing: in Asia, stickers are very popular, while in other regions gifs or emoji are preferred." The result is that Messenger's main page is tuned to three basic needs, the however, there are endless customization options available in each chat where users can still find sticker sets, add nicknames, or assign conversation colors and emojis.

In addition to the glamor and glamor, the upgraded Messenger app will also include some new functional services. The Chat and People tabs connect to your friends and relatives. Discover, however, connects users to businesses and encourages them to turn to restaurants, shops, or stores to make reservations or keep track of inventory. The much talked-about group video chat, which can hold up to 50 people, is available. Practical functions such as splitting and querying invoices have also arrived.

Despite years of development and a multitude of pre-launch tests, the design team is eagerly awaiting public feedback on the redesign. "The biggest challenge is the risk of breaking the experience for them, as change in the beginning is almost always undesirable," Crisan wrote. Fewer tabs should make it easier to navigate the app. The designers strived to improve the contrast on the page and make the user interface more readable. "But right at the beginning it can be disoriented, as if someone had come in and moved all the furniture without asking you first."

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