Facebook is moving into a new test feature, locking the navigation bar to the top of the browser window, even as a user scrolls. When considering the primary functionality of the display bar, displaying notifications, friend requests, and a link back to the homepage, these will be now be present and accessible even when scrolling.
It’s hard to say what percentage of Facebook users have this test feature available on their accounts, however those who do have it enabled have been excited about the change. The main goal of locking the blue navigation bar in place is to increase site engagement, keeping people from leaving the site once they’ve finished looking at something. Instead, by fixing the navigation bar in place, Facebook is greatly increasing the likelihood of a user clicking on another internal link.
When considering the locked navigation bar’s implementation, it’s hard to ignore that the same feature appears on Twitter and Google+ – is Facebook simply copying its competition? When considering Facebook’s new subscribe buttons and smart lists, there’s certainly a taste of Google+, however one thing to remember is that Facebook had friend lists well before Google launched Circles.
The new change is no doubt the beginning of a new redesign test, which may be unveiled at Facebook’s F8 conference. There have been hints of a locked sidebar, as well – displaying popular, relevant information, but more importantly, keeping ads locked on the right side, ensuring 100% visibility. This will be done to improve click-through rates of the ads, however with the sidebar features, things may become a bit crowded.
Have you seen the new locked top navigation bar? Do you like it? What do you think about a locked sidebar, as well? Please share your thoughts!