Ahead of launching its new Games and Applications Dashboards "in the coming weeks," Facebook detailed new features for the specialized pages designed to cut down on news feed-spamming notifications while still helping users discover new games and apps.
While news feeds in Facebook are useful for users wanting to follow their friends' activities, photos, links, and other media, many have complained over frivolous game and application notifications that also appear in the stream.
The social network hopes to address those criticisms by moving these notifications to Dashboards separated from the default news feed page, in a major change that may affect many Facebook game creators.
With these new Dashboards, Facebook users can immediately see online games or applications they've recently interacted with at the top of specialized pages. If they don't see a particular title they've played before, they can click a link that offers a complete display of all the games or apps they've interacted with previously.
Each game or application shows recent news items (limited to two), which users can specify to display either global news items like updated content for the title, or personal items such as reminders to make your next move in a turn-based game. For news items that mention specific users (e.g. "Eric sent you a virtual item"), a direct link is provided for that user's Facebook profile.
Next to the list, on the left column, bookmarked apps show counters that alert users to actions they can take for that program. Under the selection of most recently played games and their news alerts, users can see their friends' recent in-game/app activities and find titles they might want to try. Below that, they will see short lists for their friends' most frequently used games or applications.
And if users scroll down far enough on their Dashboards, they will come across a directory of suggested games and apps (currently appearing in the Application Directory's "Applications You May Like" section). The right column of the Dashboards also show suggested (and possibly sponsored) titles that users might like based on what their friends are playing.
Facebook platform developer Jordan Alperin also posted a mock-up image
of the Games Dashboard, noting that the layout is subject to change (click for the full version):
Though Facebook is waiting several weeks to launch the new Dashboards, it's already updated the Dashboard API
and opened up "sandbox" pages of the Games
and Applications Dashboards
so developers can begin modifying their products for these changes.