From the application developer perspective, the redesign will also have significant effects, O'Shaughnessy said. "The applications aren't present nearly as much as they were before," he said, alluding to the fact that the new design groups applications into a separate tab.
Although users will be able to create tabs for individual applications and the new top-level navigation includes a drop-down list of applications, "there's definitely the capability for apps to be less discoverable," O'Shaughnessy said. "For newer developers especially, that'll be really hard."
Not that O'Shaughnessy worries about being affected by this. Hungry Machine began launching its applications in mid-2007, shortly after Facebook opened its platform to external developers, and they have gained very good traction and popularity, and are generating a healthy revenue stream.
However, Facebook argues that the new design will be good for developers, not only because applications can get their own tabs, but because users will be able to add application controls to the Publisher Box. "All applications will be able to tie right into that. We think that's a huge opportunity for developers," Slee said.
Meanwhile, having an entire tab devoted to applications will let developers "build a rich and deep experience that can take advantage of more space than has ever been provided in the profile," Slee said, adding that Facebook is opening a "sandbox" for developers to get acquainted with the profile changes.
Boris Silver, cofounder and CEO of Sport Interactiva, a developer of sport-themed games, also believes that end users are likely to recoil at first and that visibility for applications in general will be diminished, but believes the changes will ultimately be for the better, particularly for companies like his whose applications are firmly established on Facebook. "It'll give room to high quality and useful applications that people value most to rise up," Silver said.
Pishevar holds a similar view, saying that the changes will benefit applications that are genuinely engaging and of high quality, and not those that try to succeed via in-your-face, aggressive self-promotion tactics, something Facebook has been trying to discourage among developers.
"The apps shouldn't be reliant on real estate on a profile page to thrive. There was tremendous benefits early on in the platform from having that real estate, but it also made it probably too easy to get users without actually investing real resources into making quality, highly engaging applications," Pishevar said.
Despite the possible bumps in the road, the developers interviewed agreed that, as far as the actual redesign is concerned, Facebook is hitting the right notes. "I'm pretty high on the design itself. It's smoother, more efficient, more clear," O'Shaughnessy said.