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Facebook Timeline vs. Old Profiles – How Our Eyes Look at Them Differently [STUDY]

Visual Attention Level - Facebook Timeline vs. Old Profiles

Facebook and changes, a story that never gets old. As a matter of fact, Facebook seems to be a huge fan of changing the old to the point where they have recently introduced the latest layout called Timeline. Basically, it tells the story of your life in one page.

There are many new features in the Timeline that did not exist in the old Facebook layout, such as the cover picture and the two columns that, as one scrolls down the page, go back in time showing posts and events by date. The new design definitely affects what people look at in a profile and for how long, and EyeTrackShop provides such information.

EyeTrackShop (via Mashable) uses eye-tracking technologies to study what viewers look at on a web page. EyeTrackShop records what part of the page is being looked at first and for how long, for sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites.

Web Page Fixation Order - Facebook Timeline vs. Old Profiles

In comparing the old and the new Facebook layouts, many changes in the pattern of eye tracking have occurred:

# 1. Facebook Timeline’s cover picture is noticed first, followed by the profile picture then personal information. The new Timeline stories columns were noticed last, even after the sponsored ads’ box. This is a different pattern from that of the old Facebook layout, where the wall was the first to be noticed, followed by personal information then profile picture. In the old Facebook layout, sponsored ads were noticed last, but in the new Timeline they are noticed just before the stories section.

# 2. Longer fixation on personal information. On average, viewers spent 2.2 seconds on the personal information box in the Timeline, a 0.6 seconds increase from that of the old layout. (This is the initial notice, not the time spent on the section)

These statistics and information can be utilized in order to create a Facebook profile that best suits a business and its intended purpose, keeping in mind that the new Timeline is more visual than the old layout.

Following are a few common sense and professional tips for businesses (and individuals) and how they can utilize the new Timeline for their benefit:

  1. The cover picture is what people look at first, and when utilized properly can lead the viewers to want to know more. Make this picture simple and easy for the eyes to look at (less is more,) and if it was proper to add text to this section, make it in the form of short statements that defines your business.
  2. Profile/product picture. Generally speaking, keep this section simple and clean with a focus on products your company produces, or services your company offers. Make it professional, and hire a photographer (for the cover picture as well.)
  3. Make sure to use ‘time’ properly. This means, if your company comes up with a new product or service, make sure to post about it immediately. Timeline gives users 7 days to edit a post before it is published, so make sure you edit the post a week ahead of the product or service’s publication to avoid it being published late.
  4. Content orientation is a major advantage of the new layout for it allows users to be concerned with the content of the post itself rather than trying to grab viewers’ attention to the post in the first place. With that in mind, a business can post about a product or a service’s technical aspects and uses more flexibly without having to worry about how to present it.
  5. Because fixation time increased from the old layout, be very specific, professional, and impressing with the personal information box. This is where you can improve your reputation, so be creative with this section.

Guest Author : Soud Alabbasi is a staff writer for the iEntry Network.

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11 comments

  1. “These statistics and information can be utilized in order to create a Facebook profile that
    best suits a business and its intended purpose” Not really. Businesses are not allowed to have a ‘profile’ under facebook’s guidelines, and ‘pages’ do not currently use the timeline layout.

  2. Really,facebook has changed the users’ glance through timeline and most of the users find it flashy and xtatic where as others find it intresting . Chaiging to timeline or keepng the old profle solely depends on the users’ choices .

  3. You’re incorrect, my business page has the new timeline, so this is helpful. I think the use of the word ‘profile’ is in the context of brand building, rather than the strict facebook personal profile use…thats a bit picky AJ!

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