The case of the mysterious, vanishing Facebook Timeline redesign

urlFacebook is rolling out a new Timeline design, one that makes photos larger and streamlines your information. The redesign makes your profile look less cluttered and more modern, and it’s pretty much indisputably good-looking. It’s like the Ryan Reynolds of redesigns: Not super-exciting but definitely aesthetically pleasant.

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The two-column new Timeline

But for some of the people who got new, beautiful Timeline early, it was too good to last. Some users who saw their profiles and Timelines change into the new format had it quickly revert back to the old format. Social media coach Dr. Laura Rubinstein alerted me to this pattern of new profiles changing back to old, and I reached out to Facebook to find out why they so cruelly snapped the pretty new profiles back to the old versions.

A Facebook representative explained that they are running tests on the new Timeline, so certain people are part of the test group “to provide us feedback to help improve the service.”

Inside Facebook reports some users are seeing a version of the new Timeline that runs in a single column, while others are getting Timeline with two columns, and Facebook confirmed that the variation between new Timelines was intentional. This means the company may be gauging which version is more popular, and that it will continue to make design decisions during this testing phase.

The single-column new Timeline

The single-column new Timeline

 It’s not clear which version of the Timeline will emerge triumphant, or how extensively Facebook is making adjustments to the versions people saw this past week.

Alterations to the Facebook design generally get greeted with criticism from people who don’t like changes, and this slow, measured roll out shows how Facebook is making sure there are more people smiling than shaking their fists about the redesign. But if you’re seeing your Timeline switch back and forth, just know that testing is still being done, and you’ll be the recipient of some new profile soon enough.