Facebook is providing people around the globe with a flatter view of their social-networking world in a new version of its iPhone application that will be released Wednesday.
Facebook for iPhone adopts Apple's iOS 7 content-over-chrome design principles with flatter, less gradient-rich menus and buttons, and also introduces a tabbed navigation bar at the bottom of the application.
On the whole, the application's aesthetics should feel right home on iOS 7 and its new functions are meant to help members get to Facebook content faster, product manager Michael Sharon told CNET in an interview on the redesigned app. In part, members will find fresh twists to familiar user interface elements such as a wireframe look and new icons for messages, and a translucent top navigation bar, which lets people view content underneath as they scroll.
"That's...one of the recommendations from the iOS team to let the content come first, and make sure that people are focusing on the content and not necessarily on some crazy gradient," Sharon said.
iPhone users will most certainly notice that they have an entirely different means of navigating around the social network from their smartphone. The company has added a bottom navigation bar that replaces both the previous jewel icons that were at the top of the app and the left-hand menu that appeared on swipe. The bottom bar comes with five tabs to jump between News Feed, friend requests, messages, notifications, and "More," which is the option to get to Pages, photos, events, groups, and so on.
The More tab also brings with it a first: Members can hop around to News Feed, update their status, and return to the More tab to view exactly what they were looking at before, say photos, without losing their place.
"The More tab...gives you an additional tab that you can use to leave on whatever experience you like the most," Sharon said.
One fun trick, Sharon demonstrated, is that you can run your finger across the bottom bar and watch as the app instantaneously switches between the tabs.
Sharon added that Facebook tested 100 different variations of the bar over six months leading up to Wednesday's release. The company landed on the tabbed approach because it wants people to open and experience other parts of the social network, and said that the new navigation will work with future product releases.
Facebook is releasing the new iPhone application for all versions of iOS, not just iOS 7, but older versions will receive slightly different treatments. The company also said that it's sticking with its current iPad design for the time being.