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John Palmer

5 Executive Secrets to Speed-up Using Gmail

By | Business, Business advice | One Comment

Saving time and effort is one of my favourite pass-times yet I was told once by a colleague that I spend far too much time on checking my emails.

But I get 80 new emails a day sometimes! Like it or lump it, while we sleep we get emails! This article is going to show you in just a few steps how easy it is to avoid getting caught up in your emails. Gone are the days of procrastinating in my inbox – with these 5 tips, you should speed-up using Gmail too.

Procrastination vs Gmail

I felt like sharing with you why using Gmail offers me some really powerful features to maximise my day in an effort to help you with your day. I hope I can save you some time, thank me with a Share on Facebook or Twitter ok?

So these features dramatically reduce the amount of time you’ll need to spend on emails, making the corporate responsibility part of your job more efficient and getting you a special “nerd badge” for showing your family or colleagues how best to use Gmail.

Of course you’ll also be able to get heaps more work done too, or if you lucky go home early?

First off, just be aware that I used to be a reckless with my email address and I recommend that if you are using your work email to sign up for anything and everything, you won’t be helping things, you’ll have more work too. SO consider that next time you subscribe to something, be sensible with your email address and online sign up to really useful blogs like ours!

This simple consideration along with my suggested changes to your email set-up should help you to improve things. My tips will make it easier for you to find your emails, assist you with automatically filtering emails into organised folders and helping to prevent spammy emails hitting your inbox in the first place.

After all, prevention is better than the cure!

Why use the Nova email system in your Gmail?

Well these aren’t really secrets, but if you don’t know, you just don’t know, am I right!

The need to write this post come from a need to speed up checking my own emails and from discovering hidden features and tools in Gmail over the past 9 years. It was only about 6 months ago I decided to spend less time on my emails than today.

I designed a system using some freely available tools within Gmail and I regularly use these systems to check email once in the morning, once in the afternoon. I’ve saved so much time per day, I can afford to spend time writing valuable blogs instead.

You might too be one of those people that wouldn’t even be able to finish daily and other important tasks due to spending hours on emails. I used to feel defeated, rushed and I didn’t feel like I had achieved much.

If you can relate to this then never fear that Empty Inbox is not far off and you’ll start reclaiming extra time the more efficient you become at using Gmail.

(At the time of this blog post I was using latest gmail interface, but these ideas / tools should still work with the Basic HTML version too).

Some of Gmails secret features

1/ Organise with Filters

Filters are used to scan emails before they come in to your inbox. Using keywords or email addresses you can identify emails you want and apply actions to and delete, archive or sort them automatically along with lots of other useful actions.

Gmail provide a handy “filter wizard” which you can use to filter emails with all sorts actions including actions such as;

  • Apply Stars
  • Apply Important Tag
  • Apply Labels
  • Move to a certain folder
  • Archive
  • Mark as read

There are plenty more options available and using these in combination with cleverly organised folders (and sub folders for advanced organisation) soon your email can be categorised how you want without even using your inbox!!

You could for example organise emails by supplier / client or contact or by project, group, context and the list is endless.

I use personally use filters to remove emails from my inbox that I don’t feel are urgent to see, such as newsletters or subject matter that I want to keep, but don’t find vital enough to check each day.

Filter-wizard

2/ Unread first

A very handy feature to speed through your emails, is to show only “unread emails”.

This can prevent procrastination by hiding “everything” (which is googles way of saying – all of your other emails) and showing only emails which need to be read or actioned.

If you don’t set your gmail view to “Unread” first, the next step will be super useful and save you the most time out of all the tips here in this post.

Unread-First

3/ Triage via inbox vs next button

Everything leads up to this point, the mass extinction of unwanted email from the main view of your Gmail, you should have now a long list of “unread emails”.

On your screen you’ll see lot’s of rows of emails with additional information along each row (each column giving you info about each email), you should see from left to right the following;

  • A check box – Select a single or multiple emails
  • Star Icon – Highlight emails as Starred
  • Important Icon – Mark your emails as important
  • From – Telling you who sent the email
  • Subject Line – Giving you some info about the email
  • Attachments – Paper clip icon
  • Time / Date

To triage your emails and sift the wheat from the shaft, go down the list and apply a check to the check box.

Ok here’s the time saver, once you’ve selected multiple emails from top to bottom of the list checking your emails using the other columns to identify which emails you want to action.  You’ll notice the toolbar (navigation bar) above the list of emails will change giving you more options.

The button we want here is the box with an arrow pointing down on it (archive) which in Gmail simply means, “not in my inbox” or in Gmail language moved to “All Mail”, which includes; archived, sent, unread etc.

With all of your emails selected you could also start using the other buttons to organise further your emails, don’t forget to look in the “more” button which gives you further actions to apply.

Note that “Mark as read” also archives (not delete) the email and removes them from your “Unread” list.  But be aware that you can only do one page like this at a time, moving to the next page deselects the previous page and you’ll have to start again!

Of course IF you have emails that you do want to read then move on the the next step.

More-Selection

4/ Faster Email Reading and Quick Actioning

First of all, I’m not telling you here how to read your email or what to do with the email once you have read it. Simply how I now navigate between emails and to action an email effectively.

First of all you don’t need to pop in and out of the list with this tip, i.e. Go into an email and hit the back button to return to the list.  Just pick the top or the bottom.  This choice will depend on which order you would like to go through you emails, I sometimes choose the top which is the latest emails, and if there are important unread emails or it’s been a while since I checked my email I go to the end of the list and start from there.

I’m assuming you’ve read the initial email (the first or last from the list) and now you want to action the email by forwarding the email, replying to it or simply archive (mark as read) to move onto the next email.

Well if there is no reply or forward required here is another great button I’ve discovered, as it’s a little tucked away.  The NEXT or PREVIOUS button!!

Of course hitting the previous button works from the top of the list, the next button form the bottom of the list, so now you can read, action and move on quickly without the need to return to the list view.

Next-Previous Button

Quick Action shortcuts

If you want to quickly reply to a short email (i.e. A few sentences that meant you didn’t need to scroll down to read it) then you can hit the reply button. If you have a longer email and get to the bottom you’ll notice a text box with reply and forward in it. Click one of these or simply start typing in the box to reply. Note – This will reply only to the person that sent the email to you.

Reply All

If you have multiple people to reply to (i.e. Reply All) then hit the down arrow next to the reply button and you’ll get more options, the reply all button will only be present if there are more people involved in the email (i.e. someone was CC’d or multiple recipients).

Filter messages like these

This one is vital. If you realise that the message is one of those not so important messages that you don’t want in your inbox each time, or if you want to add a different kind of action to messages from this person (or with certain keywords within it), then use this feature to jump start the filter wizard.

reply-drop-down

Send Shortcut

On PC use – CTRL + Enter
On Mac use – ⌘ + Enter

5/ Gmail Labs (The best bit)

Google Labs for Gmail is a nirvana for indie developers to create some awesome (somewhat hidden) features that can’t be accessed through normal settings or found in the new interface anywhere. Some of my particular efficiency favourites are:

Undo send

Perfect for a few seconds of grace when you accidentally send an email but realise that it’s to the wrong person, you didn’t attach the file you wanted to or just feel not quite ready to send but out of habit, hit that send button too hastily.

Right-hand chat

This lab tool is great if you have lots of folders and subfolders, instead of having to scroll in the tiny window the new Gmail interface allows. Right hand chat moves the whole chat section over to the right hand side instead.

Quote selected text

To reply quickly regarding specific text in an email, simply select the text and hit reply. The selected text will be placed as a quote (with citation and date) in the return email.

Unread Message Icon

If you have Gmail in a tab in your browser this little gem will place a further icon on top of the gmail icon and show you how many unread emails you have. Goes well with point one and if you “pin” gmail to your browser it minimises the tab and looks super cool up in the browser.
unread-icon

Labs-Unread Icon

Well that’s all for now, thank you for reading this and if you have anymore useful ways to make using Gmail more fun or efficient, I am always open to hearing more about how best to use Gmails many cool tools. Also if these tips have helped any of you, please share, comment and sign up for more blogs like this one.

(Use the form on the right here to sign up for email notifications of our new blogs and weekly tech news round-ups).

Google Algorithm Penalises Doorway Pages

By | Advanced SEO Techniques, Online marketing, SEO, Web Design | No Comments

Is the age of doorway or signpost pages finally over?!

Years ago when the Internet was just fields (of HTML websites), Flash was one of the more dynamic ways to have a “cool” website. BUT the big problem back then was some browsers out of the bag didn’t support Flash, in fact many still don’t.

So what could you do to prevent losing your visitors that didn’t have Flash?! You created a Doorway Page of course!!

Webmasters back then had the same goals as they do now, maximise viewers and try not alienate any of your potential visitors / customers.

Should they not be able to view the business website because of not wanting or trusting Flash!? No, you had to put a doorway page up.

Google today announced that doorway pages are now the way of the Dodo (maybe due to the annihilation of Flash?) once deprecated it’s only a matter of time before the world turns against a once revolutionary way to animate your website.

Google today announced the following alterations to their page ranking algorithm.

Over time, we’ve seen sites try to maximize their “search footprint” without adding clear, unique value. These doorway campaigns manifest themselves as pages on a site, as a number of domains, or a combination thereof. To improve the quality of search results for our users, we’ll soon launch a ranking adjustment to better address these types of pages. Sites with large and well-established doorway campaigns might see a broad impact from this change.

So why has Google decided to penalise doorway pages and what could this mean for the Web design industry?

Not all doorway pages are created equal Google! Are they for example accounting for the genuine uses of single page redirects as well as the not so legitimate uses?!

Doorway Page Example

Years ago a doorway page was as simple as this picture of a famously cool Flash website (www.2advanced.com). This image shows a simple HTML only page that contained the website / business name logo and a couple of options for traffic management. There may also be some tracking software or adverts, but mainly it was to inform people that if you hit “enter” without the Flash Plugin, the site won’t work!

I can understand why Google wants to remove these pages from their search results (Serps) I would too. The technology is deprecated and more often than not in todays internet these pages are fast and a bit of a cheeky way to enhance shared traffic quickly, cheaply and without any benefit to the end user who is just bounced from doorway page to more often than not an irrelevant page.

Google have defined a doorway page as:

Doorways are sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.

Here are some examples of doorways:

  • Having multiple domain names or pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page
  • Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s)
  • Substantially similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, browseable hierarchy

Now, personally I don’t recall using the term “doorway page” but it meant the same thing as some of the other buzz words we used for this kind of HTML page. Other terms like Gateway pages, Sign-post pages, Landing Pages or Diversion Pages were used to describe what this type of page did.

So exactly who or what are you penalising here Google and more importantly why?!

Most of us still use and rely on this kind of page. Landing pages and under construction pages, although not great for SEO or traffic management, still some of us have specific marketing plans that use these kind of pages!!

We need them to manage our email lists or social media traffic and I for one am slightly concerned that this alteration to the algorithm might affect other pages that aren’t “doorway pages” but might seem like one.

Simple “doorway pages” used in a complex or large networks of websites or marketing funnels might be affected by this Google Algorithm change, so what can we do to safeguard our genuine pages?

Well I guess, moving the page from the index.html (first page of the domain) might work, normally doorway pages are set to index.html or .php. Because they are used as the entry point to a domain (in other words you’ll see a doorway page when you type or website address or click a result from a search engine) it might be a good idea if you have a genuine single page to move these to a sub domain or another place in the website.

If you are using these pages to ensure the traffic quality or qualification on your site or to deter traffic that might add unnecessary bandwidth overheads, then other methods might be more appealing now there is a genuine risk of negative domain ranking. Lead management may now need to be more cleverly filtered and qualified at the source . With the right strategy in place that’s not too hard given the host of tools Social Media is now offering to do just this very thing!

So if your home page or landing page contains more than a few words, words such as; “Enter or Leave”, maybe also “Flash or HTML” and an image. If your page is the only page hosted on your domain and leads nowhere but other pages that contain the content that was being sought out by the user, think again. Re-strategise as Google is a coming for ya page rankings!!

But also it’s possible that armed with the knowledge about doorway pages and how they are now going to penalise your SEO efforts (with Google) having a rethink of the flow of your web traffic / marketing funnel might be a good idea. We can certainly help you there. There are many alternatives to “doorway pages” and HTML files that direct your traffic better than ever before. More importantly they won’t penalise your SEO efforts at all.

We hope that you don’t get affected by this change. But if you do and you would like to talk about it reach out to me, I’d be glad to help, if I can.

@_novajohn

The Passion Of The Pizza

By | Apps, Social Media | No Comments

The passion of the pizza in the office has reached boiling point! After discussing a bad Marketing Campaign from my favourite Pizza joint, things started getting heated to the point where the words “prove it” and ‘show me then’ were thrown around, and at Nova we put our money where our mouth is! Fast forward ten minutes and 4 pizzas were making their way to Nova’s offices!

 

Papa John’s Marketing Plea!

Papa John’s still has a lot to answer for as far as I’m concerned as their £9.99 text deals are outrageously under advertised to staff and it’s caused 2 full blown arguments with myself and the Basildon Store as well as my Chief Web Developer and the Upminster Store.  Although my experience was slightly less problematic than Mike’s in the sense I wasn’t verbally abused by staff the manager of the store still argued with me about £0.50 as their minimum delivery charge is £10.50!

Tell me how I can take advantage of a £9.99 pizza if I have to order £10.50 to get the free delivery?!

So we decided to put both our favourite Pizza deliveries to the test!

 

Pizza Thunder Dome – 2 Pizzas ordered, 1 Pizza Wins!

The 2 stores that are unwittingly going head to head are:

Dominos Elm Park, Hornchurch, RM12 5AS (3.5 miles away)

VS

Papa John’s, Dagenham, Romford, RM9 5AG (3.0 miles away)

So Papa John’s have the edge geographically, but will they utilise that edge and get the pizza here any quicker?

 

The Order

It just so happens that both pizza chains offer a 2 for Tuesday Deal so that makes selecting what to order easier, then we decided to choose similar pizzas to reduce the variable factors.

What we want to order:

To keep things the same we decided to order the Pizza Companies suggested best pizza (according to their standard menu) and a Pepperoni with the best Stuffed Edge available.

From Papa John’s we’ve ordered the Papa’s Favourite and Double Pepperoni and added a stuffed edge to the Pepperoni.

From Dominos as there isn’t an equivalent of Papa’s Favourite we’ve ordered a Meat Feast and a Pepperoni Passion with the Hot Dog Stuffed Edge.

What we thought of the choices available to us:

Papa John’s have some great varieties of pizza available all seemingly well thought out and authentic seem to be lacking in the options for extras like stuffed edge and base options.

Dominos on the other hand have a large selection of stuffed edge possibilities and even more options for type of base, making the chances of creating a custom pizza a lot easier.

Dominos Wins!

 

The Technology

How the Apps weighed up:

I happened to have the Dominos App and true to Papa John’s, Helena had the Papa John’s App, both were ordered from iPhone 5 and using the same Wi-Fi signal so the least possible external interference possible.20130820_121937

The look and feel of the 2 apps were OK in different ways with Dominos taking the lead due to their design being slightly more polished and modern. The designs were very different the functionality of ordering the food was very similar.

The food was ordered easy enough with mistakes on both apps meaning we had to start again. The apps both look similar when selecting the pizza with Dominos taking the edge due to the pizza image being larger and the text slightly easier to read.

During the ordering process I used the menu to decide which pizzas I wanted and then went to the checkout and presented was presented with a cost of £38 for the pizzas at this stage, Helena on the other hand ordered from the deals menu after reaching the same problem and we both headed off to the cart.

Neither app added the 2 for Tuesdays Voucher Code nor did they intelligently suggest the discount which is bad kudos for both of them really, hopefully they aren’t assuming ignorance will gain them more profit in the short term!

“WE WANT TO BE ADVISED OF DISCOUNTS PIZZA PEOPLE!”

IMG_1682

This meant we had to reorder the pizza through the deals section. Which a second time round was quicker and although painless wasted precious minutes for both apps.

We were also hung up from VISA as my company card had not been used so the VISA verification page  came up and prevented Helena from going forward. I struggled as (take note VISA) the non mobile responsive version of their verification form came up and we couldn’t see the text once we had typed it into the fields, which caused Helena to error out and have to start again with another already established account and card, for Papa John’s. This took Helena a few minutes and now we are even.

What does this tell you? Both Apps are designed to not optimise on deals, both are simple to order with Dominos allowing more detail on the customisation and a more polished modern interface.

Dominos Wins!

 

The Wait

Dominos arrived a few minutes ago which is closer, as the crow flies but the fact that the dominos went through a few minutes earlier than the Papa John’s means it was only a few minutes earlier.

The guy also had to call and ask us where to go where as Papa John’s guy arrived, and headed straight towards the door. Although we prompted him out the window.

We think that it should go to Domino’s purely on the fact that what you want when you wait is not to have to wait and Domino’s simply got here first!

pizza (1)pizza (2)

Dominos Wins!

 

The Pizza

The pizzas were both hot, good start.

When laid side by side I couldn’t help but notice that the Dominos looked slightly over done, from the pictures I think you’ll agree, that said the proof is in the tasting so ignoring crust first we went and dug in. The outcome was that Papa John’s won, by 1 point.

We decided not to allow Dominos delicious Hot Dog stuffed crust sway our decisions as Papa John’s menu does not feature anything quite like it.  Papa John’s did however, surprise us with a an additional green chilli which I have never seen before (although I have been informed that they’re supposed to) and I am a big fan of chilli’s, however like the Hot Dog crust it would be unfair to compare.

We did a Pepperoni taste test on our office dominos fan boy and he couldn’t tell the difference so although a large debate went on and lots of score mongering was being thrown around to try and sway the scores, the proof in the tasting was Papa John’s win 21 to 20 out of a potential 25.

pizza (3)pizza (4)

Papa John’s Wins!

 

The Social Media

Come on we’re a digital agency! We of course want to judge there social media, we tweeted both parties to let them know what we were doing and not only did Dominos reply but they wished us a pleasant meal BEFORE the pizza arrived!

That’s how to do it. Responding to your clients quickly, accurately and positively. That’s why you have 100,000 followers Dominos (a tad more than Papa John’s 2,000+)

So hands down win to Dominos who beat Papa John’s on delivery twice today.

Dominos Wins!

 

The Conclusion

Well the taste test was inconclusive and problematic with the inconsistencies in Pizza Selections and too much debate in the office over what I consider nit picking differences in the quality and presentation. The fact is I ate 4 pieces of pizza for lunch instead of a boring sandwich!

Dominos Wins!

New Facebook Design Hits Your Browsers July 2013

By | Business, Social Media, Technology, Web Design | 8 Comments

That time that the Nintendo Generation relishes is back again and at this very moment a very small percentage of your friends and maybe those lucky few that have stumbled to this post and unwittingly have it already.

There are 1 billion of us that use it and we are all subject to it being forced upon us and without the need to fluff it up further I give you…The latest incarnation of the Facebook interface!

As we did our afternoon login to check our Facebook accounts at the Premier Essex Digital Agency that is Nova Digital Media, primarily a Web Design Agency from the UK, one of our Developers jumped from his chair and yelped almost like someone had stuck a thumb tack on his chair and yelled “I have the new Facebook!”.

Well I recall the last incarnation and the hype that it caused with the new timeline or wall or whatever you want to call it. However, this time round there seems to be a more all round version update that has taken the Graphical User Interface of the world’s most social website and I for one am glad it’s here.

Nova Digital Media

I am ashamed to say that it wasn’t me that got the update and of the 5 of us, only 1 received the new glorious graphics of Facebook Design so should you wish to be considered for the new interface early you need to get over here: https://www.facebook.com/about/newsfeed and register your interest.

What is New for Facebook in July 2013

new facebook home

The largest alterations have been made to the way we use Facebook for search and navigation which would suggest that Facebook have been one of the first to act on the data freely available on the Internet which is the Tidal Wave of browsers now using Mobile Devices to connect to their favourite websites.

Mobile Devices have long been considered a possible future permanent solution for browsing the internet and I believe that this confirms that the Web Designers of the future Facebook are considering this too, If we consider the Apps Facebook has released and the large number of people that are using the Giant Social Platform now for Local and National Searches doesn’t this seem to be a natural move for all web sites?

I don’t mean to blow my own horn here, but I’ve been saying this for years. This is simply the first time I have put my opinion in the public domain. Mobile and Touch Navigation Web Design has been at the forefront of Nova Digital Media’s repertoire since it’s reincarnation as a Small Web Design Studio in Essex to a Full Creative and Digital Agency in 2013.

Think about it. What’s happening all around you on the morning or afternoon commute today?

Look around when your next on the train, People browsing their phones, tablets or laptops right? If not, then chances are they are playing Candy Crush, Farm Ville or some other “Facebook Game”.

This latest interface alteration seems to bring a sense of alignment between the Mobile Version people are becoming accustomed to and distancing the old Desktop Browser Version, which as you can imagine seems to lead us to consider that Facebook are one of the first to consider that Mobile Design is “more important” than Desktop Design.

A New Header for a New Facebook

From the top of the page we noticed immediately that the icons that assist site wide navigation have been given a shuffle, possibly to optimise site design more in line with standard design practice of having navigation on the top right and the logo in the top left.

I would hasten to add that the biggest brand change is that the word FACEBOOK no longer sits upon the page like a Logo ‘king on the throne’. Instead Facebook have opted for the more Social Media Icon style Logo that has been plastered over websites on the internet like a Social Rash and in our humble opinion is a more noticeable and recognisable brand image than the written and custom font that is the old Facebook logo.

The font in the search bar seems slightly larger and the search bar has a softer and rounded border. The icons informing us of new friends, messages and notifications have been cast aside over to the right where we think they belong.

the ‘privacy settings’ icon is separated by a small pipe and then a small downward pointing arrow which signifies more options in the furthest right hand side which opens up the menu that was hidden behind a cog icon before.

The New Face of the New Facebook a Contrasted Icon?new_facebook_logo

A small quirky change, but for a me something that is noticeable as a highly improved GUI alteration is the Facebook Icon / Logo next to the search bar. This alone is enough to make me excited without all the other alterations. But to the less Interface Design inclined I thought I’d point out a a great use of contrast design to highlight the companies brand and a clear and easy way to highlight the brand.

But in line with their internet dominating goals why not use the community adopted icon to show their brand dominance, this is the visual equivalent of someone “googling” something. There are more versions of this Facebook brand than any over online (maybe with exception of the thumbs up coming in at the rear) as it’s a subtle icon that Web Masters aren’t too worried about using to distract there visitors.

Cleverly making this the focus of the branding isn’t this reversing that thought process and causing all of those icons to be the “actual brand logo” of the magnum opus brain child of Mr Zuckerberg.
Facebook Naviagtion

Side Bar Navigation

A much neater and hidden away side bar navigation allows users to get the full screen effect of their Tablet or Phone while still having access to the all important – News Feed, Messages, Events, Pages, Apps and finally Groups.

I’m imagining in a few years when all monitors are ‘Touch or Gesture Enabled’ and a simple, flick of the finger will, show or hide the Navigation allowing the content in the main part of the page to remain the dominant focus for the viewer.

Chat Sidebar

To some the best feature of all, hide the chat is still possible but with a slightly optimised look and integrated feel to this area of Facebook, previously this was achieved with a single icon in the lower left corner of the chat area, now this is part of a menu system that includes additional Filterable chat features like; Chat with Lists allowing you to select only a group of people that you would like to chat to.

How fun, No longer do you need to set up advanced privacy settings or completely go offline to avoid someone you may still owe money too from that hazy weekend bender!

Post Search Feature

This is a complex piece of code and styling here to complete again another simple method of keeping a large menu at bay.

In Interface design we call this an accordion, as like its namesake the instrument that delights some on the busy streets of Camden, London every now and again it is a small object that can on demand become a much larger object. Clicking a menu item will expand that item to reveal sub sections or child navigation sections if you like hidden like a Russian Doll gleefully popping open a tiny menu within.

Each item also gives you a great indicator of its usefulness by showing you new information that has been posted or updated within the interface in again a clever and subtle drop shadow style.

The same great List features are available for you to use, there just seems to be a better design around presenting the lists / likes and page feeds to you in this shiny new version.

Post / Wall Filters

Once you’ve settled on a wall item, your also given a wonderful punch in the eyes with a new way of displaying the content to you in a Metro Style organisation of the images and posts using a style we are accustomed with from the previous Interface Update that we now all enjoy.

There is however a new banner that is customised with a personalised image to your interests adorning the top of the new filtered wall, indicating as clear as glass that you are on the filter that you selected.

Post Search

Click the boxes below to see screenshots of how the filters work…

Photo Filterphotos

Music Filter

games

Games Filter

music

The New Timeline Wall for New Facebook

The New Timeline Wall for New Facebook

Profile Icons

The first noticeable thing for me was the adjustment made to the Profile Icons, the rounded off corners and more complete images seemed to leap out of the screen at me and without trying draw my attention to the relevant wall post.

What’s more is the use of the icons to signify the post type, events are presented with a snazzy almost iOS style date icon and other Facebook platform features seem to have a newer more polished look about the icons, but the personalised and commercial posts look better too, this design really brings the wall sections into the iPhone age and give the posts a look that is akin to a customised button for an iPhone App.

Profile Icons

Emoticons

Emoticons gleam from the page like a Super Nova Star in the cosmos on a dark night, like a beacon of emotion they signify to us that someone dear and personal has requested something now I’m not saying this is a new feature at all.

But again with a polished look the new icons seem to be brighter and much more appealing, I only glanced at the little hear emoticon but I would be ‘very’ surprised to find that Facebook have only updated one icon.

I’ve noticed 2 already and I’m looking forward to discovering a whole new icon set that Facebook have recreated giving one Essex Based Graphics guy a little ‘pixel pick’ up!

Friend Likes on Posts

This is a great new feature for those egotistical wall addicts or conceited post people among us (in a nice way, of course), with this instant visual cue you’ll get to see not only how many but who liked your wall post allowing to you to continue your rant or informative post to the masses most interested in your ramblings.

Also you’ll see who your real fans are by getting a quick glimpse of their face on the wall rather than several clicks and a lot of guess work!

Enhanced Post Images

Looking at the new image, it’s possible that Facebook have spent some time optimising the image used on their ‘launch page’ but after closer inspection it does seem that most of the images that are on the site being viewed on the latest incarnation are a bit, higher definition?

Gallery Post

Is this down to the image engine that powered the billions of images on the site and is this also taking into account overall global increases in broadband speed? I think so, further more with faster speeds the Light-box (pop-up image viewer) that displays the images upon mouse click, which seems to also be slightly more generous giving us, larger monitor folk, more image by drawing the box closer to the edges of the screen. This is not fully tested as we rushed straight to word processing once we saw the New Facebook so please excuse us if this turns out to not be the case.

However I’m sure you’ll agree that the way gallery posts are displayed is very much an improvement with an almost Windows 8 feel in the new tiled layout. Also allowing you to skip the first image and also get a bit of information about the gallery within the post tile before you need to click it.

This almost seems like Facebook no longer want you to stray from your wall giving you the filters and tiled information posts excerpts with as much information as possible making the New Wall a more informative place to be in Facebook.

 Video and Multimedia Posts

Video Posts have also seen an overhaul of the design of the post tile showing off the video with the new customer integrated video player instead of the YouTube feed of old and also giving us the same captioned tile that we have seen with the Image gallery posts.

I’m wondering if there is a audio or sound only version similar to sound cloud in the making allowing music to be streamed from the wall of a filtered user giving us an almost playlist for our favourite music.

You hearing me Facebook?

Facebook Image Search

Filtering the wall for images seems to be a great way to also get rid of the stuff you don’t want and is possibly a game changer for family members that simply want to nose through other family members images to catch-up without making that social interaction that used to be called a ‘phone call’.

Don’t get me wrong I’m a Facebook enthusiast but as more features like this come into play is makes me wonder if this sort of filterable option will push families further apart by telling stories of thousands of words without the need for a conversation of, “How was the wedding? or “Did you enjoy your holiday?”

Gallery updates, improved imagery and filterable searches through the inbox of wall posts that we are presented with allow us to focus our attention on what matters to us at the time and leave the tangents and misgivings of the old timelines a firm shove to the knackers yard as we strive for optimum use of our time and a more focussed experience on Facebook between breaks at work or on the 30 minute commute home.

Messenger for Windows

The best for last? Finally the new Messenger for Windows, Is this the doing of the Windows 8 or MSN squad over at Microsoft? With the Skype envelopment with Windows 8 it seems possible that the strong connection between My Zuckerburg and Mr Gates as the 2 giants of software have teamed up in another area with Bing Search being just the tip of the Iceberg.

What’s next Skype Calls on Facebook? Why Not?

Well hey maybe that’s how the Facebook Video Calling works with Skype Mechanics?

Well whether this is the latest attempt to revive the old dying Windows Messenger (MSN) via Facebook it is entirely possible, after all who are we to speculate on the possible alliances and software collaborations that have taken place at camp FaceSoft (you see what I did there!…”FACE- book, micro-SOFT”!).

Notice however that MicroSoft only platforms are not the only place Facebook wants to play on this new Software. Messenger is available also for Mobile and Firefox, look closely that seems to be an android phone! Hey who are Google to stand in the way of progress right!?

messenger for windows

To Sum it all up

To coin a phrase, “innovation is 99 perspiration and 1 inspiration” and it seems in the back rooms of the Facebook Factories like The Wonka Chocolate Factory, the wonderful minions and powers that be behind Facebook have worked very hard and furiously hammered out this wonderful new toy and I love it! So from us at Nova Digital Media, THANK YOU!

But what will this Facebook Revolution mean for the likes of You and Me as users?

Ease of use, Multi Platform Compatibility, Responsive Design for Multiple Screen Sizes and much more…

Of course, Design and Interface Improvements are all that left for the Facebook Crowd, making it pretty and easy to use is a long overdue version update that we were all needing to refresh our palettes for this tapering off growth session that Facebook has been enjoying for the last few years.

The road map now for Facebook with a fully Touch and Gesture friendly interface is good, the possibilities are now open to all sorts of great new tools, ideas and updates; Office 365, Outlook Accounts, Adobe Facebook Apps maybe?

Hey that’s great for us, we work in Facebook every day so having our Office in here with our preferred crowd would be a great idea.

For now though all I can do is sit and be jealous that my Web Developer is sitting perusing the new features and I’m still on the waiting list.

COME ON FACEBOOK GIVE A MAN A BREAK! LET ME IN!!!

January 2014 UPDATE

Facebook has begun to roll out it’s new User Interface to select Business Pages. Our CEO John Palmer explains more:

February 2014 UPDATE 2

Our Social Media Manager has noticed a new Facebook addition. Even though she is still on the old user interface she has noticed the addition of a ‘Trending News’ feature on the right hand side of her Home page. Helena explains more in her newest blog post.

March 2014 UPDATE 3

This time it’s our tech officer who has noticed yet another development to the new Facebook user interface. Facebook seems to have reverted back to a few of the features that they had left with the old UI whilst making a one new aesthetic change.

1. No Last Name

First the small change. Facebook have removed your last name from the top navigation bar leaving you with just your first name or any middle names that you have. Functionally it offers nothing but Facebook has decided that we’re all cool enough to parade around with a last name so enjoy.

2. Goodbye Streamlined Side Navigation

When Facebook gave our tech officer the new UI this was his favourite new feature. Facebook had removed the clunky long list that the majority of us still have and replaced it with a more streamlined, visually pleasing navigation bar. Facebook has decidedly reverted back to the previously mentioned ‘clunky’ list and has removed the rather different navigation bar favoured by our Tech Officer Conor. This could all be a matter of tastes and some people may welcome a change back, but here at Nova we quite liked the de-cluttered version.

3. Welcome Back Mini News-Feed

Another change back to the previous UI Facebook had originally removed the mini news-feed located above your chat bar, allowing just one long chat bar that went from the top to the bottom of your page. There are positives to both lay-outs, having a mini-news feed gives you real-time updates of your friend’s activities whilst having just a column dedicated to who is online means you do not have to scroll through endlessly to see who is online. Either way Facebook has made the decision for you and has reverted back to having a split column the top half showing updated activities and the bottom half showing who is available to chat.

These were the changes that we have noticed so far, have you noticed any others? What do you think of the newest updates?