For anyone suffering from the visual overload of Facebook’s web iteration—rife with font chaos and real-time Ticker updates that transform our “friends” into agents of distraction—the new Facebook app for iPad offers immediate relief. Our gut first impression? We like it. This despite the fact that it did crash on us (once) during a status update maneuver, and other sources are reporting bugs.
A beta build of the app was leaked inside an iPhone update, so this final live version isn’t necessarily a surprising build. Nonetheless, it offers a much tighter, more Facebook-familiar information design than apps like Friendly, which, until yesterday, was one of your only options for navigating through a native, 1024x768 Facebook experience on the iPad.
In total, Facebook for iPad reminds us why so many browser-based services really begin to sing when iterated in app form: They right-size fonts, subjugate or fully strip away seldom used product features, and hook into Apple’s standardized user interface elements for more pleasing navigation.
Of course this initial version of Facebook for iPad doesn’t include the upcoming Timeline feature, which is currently in beta, but could eventually muck up a currently pleasing user interface. For now, we’re happy to enjoy the winning app features, which we showcase here.
The main interface (screenshot above) is split into two panes, with features on the left and sliding active windows on the right (for example, swiping left on the news feed reveals all your chat buddies). We appreciate the clean, orderly layout of the left-hand navigation bar. Goodbye chaos, hello legibility.
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