After consistently disappointing with its bug-laden iPhone app, Facebook developed a version for the iPad that features a surprisingly elegant user interface. And of course, one of the best things about both Facebook iOS apps – they remain advertising free!
The Facebook iPad app is a free download from the App Store, and signing in with an existing account or setting up a new one are both simple. A neat feature is the display of a user’s current profile photo when starting the app.
A Clean Facebook News Feed
The News Feed in the app sports an uncluttered appearance. The absence of ads probably helps in this regard. The right twenty per cent of the screen is taken up by the chat window, which seemed disappointing before discovering that the comments for any story take up that real estate when clicked. A simple finger swipe dismisses the comments window.
Clicking on any profile or page within a News Feed story slides that profile over the feed. Dismissing the profile thankfully keeps one’s place in the feed, something that sometimes works incorrectly with the browser version of Facebook.
What Facebook considers to be the “top” stories still appear first in the News Feed; the recent change that caused much consternation among their user community. Frankly, a user option to simply sort all stories by date needs to be returned.
What constitutes the left margin in the browser version of Facebook is displayed by clicking on the button in the top left of the menu bar. This includes a user’s popular groups and pages, and also provides access to photos, friends, account settings, and the ability to log out from the social network.
Browsing through the Friends list is now a joy, with larger profile photos along with the convenient alpha list on the right of the screen.
Overall, the News Feed in the Facebook iPad app provides all the content from the full browser version with an uncluttered look and a superior user experience.
Profiles, Pages and Photo Navigation
Profiles, Pages, and Groups share the same similarity with the browser version of Facebook illustrated with the News Feed. All provide a clean appearance with the same UX improvements already discussed. The absence of the chat window is an added bonus, allowing for more information to appear on the iPad’s screen at once.
Photos arguably see the most improvement in overall user experience compared to the browser version of Facebook. Accessing a photo album displays photos fully on screen, with finger swipes used to navigate between photos. The photos really look great on the iPad, as illustrated by the screen shot of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s famous Mabry Mill.
The Facebook iPad app is a must download for owners of Apple’s tablet computer. Considering the lack of quality with their previous iOS efforts on the iPhone, Facebook’s developers hit it out of the park with the iPad version. This is definitely best way yet to browse The Social Network.