The other morning I opened up my email to a friend letting me know that Facebook Pages were changing to the new Timeline layout. I immediately thought, “Darn you Facebook! We just got it tweaked to how we wanted it. Our visitors are going to hate it.” Yes, I was one of those that was immediately negative . . . for a moment.
Then I started remembering those things I initially liked (no pun intended) about the Timeline layout for personal use. I also started thinking about some of the barriers we were encountering with the present page and trying to create the best possible visitor experience. So I dove in and started doing some tweaking. I initially planned on waiting a few weeks after announcing to the people of the coming change, but after a few additions I switched it over. The response has been good so far, and here’s what I really like about this new layout for parish pages.
- The Timeline better reflects the parish history over time. Our parishes have stories galore and rich histories. Those stories are rich memories of our lives and the times we spent within our parishes. The Timeline becomes like a scrapbook of our parish. Adding ‘Milestones’ is a great way to highlight those big moments (i.e founding, additions, events, etc.).
- Much richer visitor experience. The whole layout works much more like mini-website wherein the navigation for the visitor is a much richer experience. Those “tabs” are better called out at the top, the huge cover image just looks great, etc. And if you want to look back on time . . . simple click the years off to the right.
- “Notes” can be a great addition. I’ve rarely used the “notes” feature in Facebook, but the new Timeline view and thinking about the history/archival aspect of the page made “Notes” seem like the perfect addition. We had a letter from the Pastor about stewardship that I “pinned” to the top of the page as a “note”. We had a write-up about the history of the parish that was kind of hidden on the existing website so this made for a great “note” on the page. You can obviously use them like a blog too from the Pastor if you want.
- The Admin Panel. This is now a dropdown-like panel at the top to see some quick overviews and stats without leaving the page. This is a better in my opinion as the data better ties in with the visual page itself. If you choose to get into the “nitty-gritty” settings, you can through the “Manage” button.
- Future Apps. Adding apps that enhance your sharing and your personal page can be added to your parish page and more apps will be coming to be sure. So think about things like Pinterest and being able to share “boards” on your page. This something I’ll be playing around with more.
What do you think about the new layout? Have you changed your parish page over yet or are you waiting until the end of March when it happens automatically?