Facebook’s Workplace gets updated UI, more emphasis on chat and groups

Facebook Workplace
The new Notifications interface in Workplace looks like an in-box and can be filtered. Image: Facebook

Revamp intended to be easier to use for users, admins

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3 May 2019 | 0

Along with an update to its core consumer offering at its F8 developer conference this week, Facebook announced a redesigned interface for its Workplace enterprise social network. One analyst described the new look as “less cluttered, faster [and] easier to navigate,” with a greater focus on Workplace’s chat and group elements.

Among the changes to the streamlined UI is the ability to jump between Workplace’s Notifications, groups and Workplace Chat features more quickly, with shortcuts placed on a left-hand navigation bar.

Workplace groups had before been placed on the right hand side of the application, but are now more prominently positioned, said Facebook. The goal: help users keep track of their groups. It is also possible to collapse the left and right-hand navigation bars to better focus on content such as the News Feed and group posts.

“The changes made to the Workplace platform keep pace with the user interface and speed updates made to the main Facebook platform,” said Wayne Kurtzman, a research director at IDC. “Without this change, Workplace would start looking dated. I would expect it will also help implement an array of future features.”

Other updates include a new Notifications view, which displays updates as an inbox, with the ability to apply filters based on individual preferences to find relevant information faster. The Workplace ‘work graph’ can also be used to highlight the most relevant content and groups to users.

The updates to the Workplace admin panel, also accessible from the left-hand navigation bar, include a simplified design, with a single People tab to add, manage and deactivate users.

Karandeep Anand, Facebook vice president and head of Workplace, said that the UI changes are aimed at making it easier to collaborate and get work done in Workplace. 

“In addition to building community at work, people want to use Workplace to collaborate and have the information they need at their fingertips,” Anand wrote in a blog post. “They want tools like Workplace Groups and a Notifications inbox that enable collaboration, reduce the reliance on e-mail, and allow them to chat and share files quickly.”

Facebook launched Workplace in 2016 and has now amassed2 million paid users, according to the latest data from the company. Customers include large deployments at Telefonica, Nestle and Virgin Atlantic.  

At last year’s F8 conference, Facebook added 50 third party app integrations with applications such as ServiceNow, Atlassian’s Jira Cloud and Microsoft Sharepoint. 

IDG News Service

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