Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Custom Tab Width Reductions Coming Soon to Facebook Pages

As part of its sweeping roadmap announcement last October, Facebook said then that it would be reducing the maximum pixel widths of custom tabs in Pages. While it had previously allowed widths of up to 760 pixels, the size can now only go to 520 pixels wide — and the change is about to go into effect. The company had recently said to expect it in late July, but we’re hearing from an industry source that the change isn’t coming until the second week in August, or so.

The reason for the delay appears to be this: many Page owners had designed around wider widths, and the company is trying to avoid breaking their efforts through the reduction.

New Tab Size

Custom tabs, which show third-party applications or custom landing page designs, allow brands and other organizations to provide their own content for Facebook users to interact with. Although Facebook hasn’t explained the shrinkage, it is likely intended to make Pages fit more neatly on smaller screens.

The roll-out date has been pushed back repeatedly since October, with the latest roadmap update telling everyone to expect the new size in “mid 2010.” Developers and marketers working with Pages have been somewhat confused about the changes, as a result, although most people we’ve spoken with have prepared for the dimension reduction by this point. For an example of the new width in action, see Nike’s recent World Cup promotional app and video, Write the Future.