Facebook is going heavy on mobile. The social network released an update Monday that introduces 36 cover art themes for Facebook-made “Events.” But while many Facebook updates are first rolled out as tests on desktop or as an iOS feature on iPhone, the new illustrations are currently only available for Android users.
Creating events on Facebook had not been the easiest -- nor the prettiest -- to manage via mobile. One way to make your event stand out: add a cover image. Prior to this update, Facebook users had no way to choose a cover photo when setting up an event on their smartphone. On mobile, users are limited to filling in information for the Event Name, Description, Location, Date & Time and then choosing guests.
Clicking on “Edit” simply leads users to those descriptions, and the cover photos would be gray. Users could then go to the desktop version of Facebook to upload a new photo or choose from an album.
Facebook admitted that mobile for events was previously not well-designed for its users. “Facebook has heard feedback from people that adding a cover photo to private events like dinner parties and barbecues helps make your event stand out (and you’re more likely to get higher engagement/RSVPs),” a Facebook representative wrote. “Finding and adding cover art had been especially tough to do on mobile.”
This update grants Facebook users access to 36 themes, divided into the categories: family, seasons, holiday, food & drink, party, recreation and travel. Facebook also announced that new themes would be added over time. The cover photos were created by internal illustrators at Facebook and some contributors. "[Event themes] shouldn't be too much of a culture shock for people who are used to illustrations on Facebook," Jez Burrows, a Facebook illustrator, told The Huffington Post.
Events is one section of Facebook that has served as a crux of the social network since its early days as a desktop-only site. CEO Mark Zuckerberg brought Events more into investors’ eyes when he announced that 450 million people -- out of Facebook’s 1.49 billion active monthly members -- use the feature each month, as reported in the company’s second-quarter earnings call in April.
But just as its users are active with their smartphones -- with 1.31 billion considered to be active each monthly on the mobile apps -- Facebook Event creation is also skewing toward mobile. About 55 percent of Facebook Event activity (creating, responding to events, messaging, discovering new ones) happens via smartphones, the company reported.
Event is not the first Facebook update done for mobile first, but the way it is being rolled out fits into a companywide mission for more mobile-friendly initiatives. Over the last few months, Facebook has introduced several new features for its standalone apps, such as full-screen video ads, “buy” buttons for shops, and a live-streaming video option. Each of these allow for more content creation, advertising viewing and clothes purchasing in just a few taps.