Messenger gets a major redesign to focus back on conversations
Messenger, the Facebook-owned messaging app that spun off to become its own chat app, is getting a major redesign.
After years of stuffing it with new features and distractions, the Messenger team has realised its time to listen to its global user base of 1.3 billion individuals and take the app back to its roots. This means Messenger has taken a cue from its lightweight chat counterpart Messenger Lite, rolling back to an app that puts conversations front and centre.
The redesign is partly a result of user feedback in which 71% of Messenger users said that simplicity is their number one priority for what a messaging app needs to be able to do. Unlike Messenger Lite, which is intended to make using Messenger on low-powered devices or connectivity-poor locations a breeze, this new version of Messenger is simply designed to streamline how people interact with the app.
“Guided by four design principles, we made thoughtful decisions on how we simplified the app – without removing any of the features people know and love,” reads a statement from Messenger. This redesign has resulted in the previous nine tabs found in current versions of Messenger to just three: Chats, People and Discover.
Under Chats you’ll find the people you’re messaging, both individuals and groups. People combines the previous Active and People tabs so you can now see who’s active online and catch up on friends’ stories in one place. Discover is where you’ll find Instant Games, brand pages, discounts and offers and all that other gubbins most people probably forget Messenger actually does.
Alongside the changes to how the Messenger app is actually laid out, users are now also able to personalise their conversations in new ways. As part of Messenger 4, as it’s being called by Facebook, a host of “small, but delightful” updates are rolling out. One such update is the use of colour gradients for chat bubbles, so as you scroll up through conversations you’ll see colours slide from one colour to another.
Messenger also plans to roll out new features gradually over time. The gradual roll-out is disguised as a thinly veiled “it takes time for people to get used to a new way to use an app” excuse, but a steady stream of tweaks and changes is always welcome. The first feature listed for a future update is a much-needed Dark Mode for Messenger. This reskins Messenger’s interface so that its bright white background doesn’t hurt your eyes in low-light environments when you’re messaging late or out at an evening event.
A solid release date for Messenger 4 hasn’t been given, but it should begin rolling out as an update to Messenger over the coming weeks starting from today.