Facebook Reintroduces App Requests in Left Sidebar, Permits Open Graph Object Type Changes
Facebook has reintroduced app requests to the requests module in the home page’s right sidebar, the company announced today in its latest weekly developer blog update. By displaying counters for requests in the left sidebar, and text alerts in the right, users are more likely to respond to requests and reengage with apps. Facebook now also allows Open Graph objects with less than 10,000 Likes to have their type changed without reseting their Like count.
Requests Interface Changes
In September at Facebook’s Games press event, the company announced that application requests would soon cease to appear as text alerts in the right sidebar, and would instead appear as counters on the Games or Applications dashboard bookmarks in the left sidebar. At first, users saw additional text in the right sidebar requests module explaining where the requests had been moved, but soon the counters were the only way of knowing about requests. This likely hurt game and application growth and retention, leading Facebook to reinstitute the right sidebar text alerts.
Now when users receive an application or game request, such an invite to support a Cause or be neighbors in FarmVille, they see a text alert on the right, and a counter increase on the left. The first time users click on one of the text alerts they’ll see a pop-up pointing to the corresponding counter bookmark and explaining how it works. Interestingly, the text alerts are not active links, though they appear to be. Subsequent clicks to the alerts do not open the corresponding dashboard, which could frustrate or confuse users.
Changing Open Graph Object Type
When the Open Graph protocol was announced at the f8 conference in April, Facebook began allowing websites to use meta tags to denote a type for each Open Graph object. This markup could be read by Facebook, so if you clicked a Like button on an Open Graph object with its type set to “Movie”, that Like would appear in the Movies section of your profile interests. However, little additional instruction was given as to what type some objects should be classified as. This probably led to many objects being mis-classified, but changing the object type would reset all the existing Likes, severing those connections which are valuable to the object’s owner.
Now, Facebook is allowing the admins of Open Graph objects with fewer than 10,000 Likes to switch the type to another from the type list or a custom type without resetting its Likes. Very popular Open Graph objects do not have this option because it allows admins to alter a user’s profile without their permission, which at that scale could have too big an impact.
Admins with objects under the cap should check to ensure they have the optimal type selected. If applicable, admins should use the Activity, People, or Products and Entertainment types which appear in special categories with more prominence than Likes lumped into the general “Other Pages” section. This increased prominence can lead to more users discovering the object in the profiles of friends.