This is a quick update about some news I received yesterday from Facebook on my Fan page. There are changes being pushed out to all fan pages on August 23 that could really change the design of your custom tabs. While many people using Fan pages don’t have custom tabs, there is a growing number of businesses that are taking advantage of FBML (Facebook Markup Language) to create custom landing and content tabs on their fan page.
The changes are as follows:
Fan Page Boxes
Facebook is removing Boxes from its feature set including on profiles and pages. I see this as just clearing up some real estate and not a real loss for anyone. Good move.
Fan Page Application Tab Width
The width of tabs is currently changing from 760px to 520px; a significant drop. While any dynamic width elements like paragraphs will just resize, what you have to watch out for are the fixed width elements like Image headers and tables with fixed widths. These must be updated by August 23rd in order to keep your visitors seeing what you want them to see. The good thing is that Facebook is allowing Administrators of fan pages to view the fan page in the 520px width so you can see the changes.
If you visit my Detroit SEO & Web Design Fan Page, you can see the welcome tab as it currently stands and you can see what it looks like after with the image below. While I only have a fixed width header, many of my clients have fixed width bodies, which complete cuts out their sidebar, not good.
As you can see the change is that they’re going to display the main fan page sidebar throughout each tab. The good thing is that it removes the need to put an image of the company or person in the sidebar of each page. The bad thing is that there’s still a need for more contact information or a newsletter sign-up form so we will still need to have a sidebar on the tabs. We will just have to make it as narrow as possible so it doesn’t take away from the main page.
I think the changes are coming to create continuity throughout the fan page with the sidebar and also for better mobile support. 520px is a lot easier to handle on your phone than 760px. You can view the official announcement at Facebook Fan Page Changes Announcement.
What do you think?