Behind the Project: Facebook Redesign

In this series, we’ll look deeper into some of the projects on that were especially admired in our community. Fred Nerby designed a Facebook redesign concept that has absolutely exploded on the web – over 300,000 views, 15,000 appreciations and counting! He streamlined the experience, adding responsive panels, splitting the News Feed into two columns, for example. Take a deeper look into how this was created below!

What was your inspiration for this project?
As funny as it may sound, the project was not actually inspired by visuals or UI work created by other platforms, but more so a deeper understanding and a personal interest in user behavior. For a while I’ve been researching Systematic Design and what it actually represents and how it’s best applied in the digital space because it’s changed the making of media in the modern world and also how digital agencies are now working.

Understanding behavior and the psychological success behind a platform such as Facebook is crucial before you get in to the creation or execution of design. People around the world are already connected on a personal level with the platform (or the brand that is Facebook) for many different reasons; main factor is that it’s fulfilling a need in people that wasn’t there a few years ago. If you understand the power of systematic thinking then there are ways of drawing that emotional connection out of people with clever design that will make the experience even more powerful and engaging for the user; and that is where it all started.

Can you describe your process in creating this project?
First off, when dealing with a platform such as Facebook, which is heavily focused on a suite of behaviors you need to get an understanding of how to actually design for that. The process of thinking is very different from how people have worked in the past at more traditional agencies. It’s important to understand that most traditional agencies are coming from a pure narrative space where the idea is to interrupt you to think of a brand you haven’t thought about and connect you through a story. Their greatest challenge in the modern world of media right now is to recognize that you can be creative within “Systematic Design”.

For example, the world is embracing the products and media invented in places such as the Silicon Valley (Apple) and the innovation that has been driving such places forward is NOT the innovation of narrative, it’s the innovation and more importantly the understanding of systems and behavior. And today; that has become a creative discipline! Companies like Apple and Facebook are focusing on creating platforms and it’s a new world where you “invent media to frame behavior”, which in itself means that the production is now creative and your relationship with the “making” is very different. If you want your UI to be successful you need to have a solid understanding of all this before you move on to architecture and design when taking on a platform.

All in all, the setup was thought through before I got into the making of design so the overall process of creating the artwork went fairly smooth with a few minor hick-­‐ ups on the way. Again, you can’t jump straight in to a design of such a project without understanding the user behavior and then try to figure things out as you go along. That will never work!

Did you expect it to be as popular as it’s been on the Behance Network?
The way that people around the world has embraced this concept is nothing but mind-­‐blowing. Today the concept has reached out to millions and the project has been featured in an endless amount of blogs, magazines and people have been tweeting and sharing this on various social platforms which is nothing but amazing. The project exploded at Behance and quickly grew from there and creative’s inside the Behance network is still connecting with it and sharing their opinions which is what this platform is all about and I love seeing that!

Did you go through many versions and iterations before coming up with these final pieces?
All screens has been modified and altered a few times, some more then others. The Profile section was tweaked the most because everything is connected within those screens and there were a number of different executions on that design (timeline, photos, calendar etc) but the overall structure did not change. There are other areas within this concept that introduced new ways of thinking in terms of filtering data to give the user a more personalized experience that required some tweaking because it affected other areas of the entire concept as well.

Did anything interesting happen as a result of the success of this project? (fans contacting you, job opportunities, blogs picking it up, etc)
Within 24h of this project going live on Behance; it’s been a huge journey! Things changed drastically for me and today I’ve spent many days abroad and away from home talking to a large number of companies and creative’s within the digital space, both agencies and more product/platform based companies around the world, which has been fantastic! I’ve had the opportunity to get face to face with the elite

in our industry and people I never thought I’d be able to have a conversation with started to reach out to hear more about my vision of digital and how it connects with their existing methodologies, which in itself means a lot! My vision about the digital space and where we’re heading has connected me with people within our industry who’s been highly successful for many years on an international level and those conversations are extremely valuable and I’m very thankful for all the shared knowledge that’s come out of it!

I’ve had hundreds of creative’s reaching out too from all corners of the world who are just happy and inspired to do more work on their own because of what they’ve seen and have been asking questions that are more related to education and guidance which is very humbling. The idea of motivating others to create, connect and to dare to show themselves in the digital space is inspiring in itself and it’s what makes me want to do more cool work in the future.

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