Facebook Needs to Better Align its Timeline Cover Photo

Facebook has been rolling out its new Timeline profile. At what should be the top of this profile is a really widely proportioned photo (850 x 315 pixels) that could be, in Facebook’s words: “a unique image that represents you best. It’s the first thing people see when they visit your timeline”. Unfortunately, the way Facebook displays this image, a good portion of it is chopped off, and there is no good reason for it.

If you look at these new Timeline profiles across various hardware platforms, from tablets to widescreen monitors 1920 pixels wide or wider, at various magnifications, some top portion of the Cover Photo is cut off. You spent time getting that cover photo and what you get for it is about one third to two thirds of the top chopped off, from what I’ve been able to estimate. The exact amount chopped off isn’t nearly as big a deal as that a good portion of it is chopped off. It looks ugly, is my point, and the first impression you give based on what represents you best is cut by 33-67% or so. How would you liked to be introduced by 33-67% of how you wanted to be?

What I don’t get about the Timeline cover photos appearing this way is why it has to be. It is the top element of the web page, and just about every web page you view is aligned to the top. We’re not asking your browser to start at some point down the page where the width could alter the alignment here. We’re just asking Facebook to align the page like just about every other web page in the cyber universe!

Now, with the misalignment of the cover photo, many people will want to do one or two of the following actions:

  1. They may click to scroll to the top to see the entire image, and then down again to see whatever they were looking for.
  2. They may spend more time on Facebook to do action #1, even if only a few seconds.

Both are to Facebook’s Internet traffic ranking gain if a person does that. More clicks while on the site and more time on the site. Even if only a little, you add up 500+ million users’ potential actions and it amounts to a lot. It’s also a lot of people “life times” if you add up all the time scrolling back up. Regardless, neither reason above is a good one for having this annoying glitch. If each Facebook user only ever wasted one┬ásecond scrolling back up to see that cover photo in full, that’s almost 16 years in people’s lives wasted! Now that’s impact!

Maybe Facebook is just trying to be “artistic”, to show the art or profile in some “funky” way and present that photo in a partial offset manner. I sincerely hope not because I don’t want to have to tell Facebook that art isn’t meant to be viewed with a significant portion of it cut off!

If I had to bet, though, I’d say it is to show profile links below the picture for a quick, one-click access to other features in your profile. These would not be immediately visible on some small hardware people use to view Facebook, like tablets, or at larger magnifications. However, to make the profile picture any thinner would have made options for photos really impractical. I think Facebook got stuck in a design dilemma it did not work hard enough to solve and left what you currently see as an insufficient solution.

I’m speculating on all this, of course, but someone give me a better reason why Facebook can’t align its Timeline profiles to the top so the cover photo can be fully seen. Actually, I’d just be happy if they’d just fix it because it affects a lot of people, and the ultimate outcome is just to align the Timeline profile to the top. It’s the default thing we’re asking for here, to fix something that is rather annoying.

I propose they’d just align it and not worry about the one-click access to many links. No need to redesign to save face or change existing codes to something complicated. People will scroll down to get to those links as they know about them, and give Facebook their extra clicks. Facebook will get more time by users on the site if the users saw the profile photo in full because I think a lot of people ignore it now if they don’t see enough they care about in them, like if the photos were generic shots which many people use. They will have to look at the photos now, like users want them to, if the photos were fully seen without cropping upon seeing someone’s profile. Finally, the cover photo will truly serve its purpose to its full potential as Facebook desired.

Let’s hope Facebook is going to listen!

7 thoughts on “Facebook Needs to Better Align its Timeline Cover Photo

  1. I have noticed this lately, too, but it did not do this when I first started using Timeline (before they rolled it out to everybody). It’s annoying, because I went to all the trouble to find a photo that would crop well to that proportion, and now they’re misaligning the page.

    • I know what you mean on the frustration, not to mention lack of aesthetics, Mark. That’s why I’m hoping FB is listening to its users. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has pointed it out to them. I just made a tech and business case, with solutions and why they’re effective, rather than just complain to FB. ­čÖé

  2. This has been pissing me off for a while now. Timeline covers are fun to further personalize your profile page, but it’s pointless and a complete waste of time when you go out to create your own images only for them to be partially displayed. There should be no reason to automatically set the page to load partially scrolled down, and if Facebook is doing it simply to keep people on their pages longer, then there should be an ‘opt out’ option so that we can have the CHOICE of how our pages look. This is a total (>_<) feeling for me…

  3. I’ve noticed the same so I googled “Facebook Cover Photo Cut Off” and this article appeared as one of the results. I always thought it was just MY computer, but Im happy it’s not. I hope that more complaints about this problem will get Facebook to fix it. There has to be some motive to it, though, as the other commenter stated.

    • Yes, but whatever that other motive is, we can only guess. Maybe it’s just a few scrolls up and down that gives time on the site to get it some additional time that improves its search engine rankings. But whatever, it’s a dumb thing to do to for such a goal.

  4. Well it’s obvious that Facebook has no intent to ever change this flaw. It’s almost April 2013, way more than a year since the opening message was posted, and the problem still exists. One thing we often forget, however, is that Facebook’s users are not their customers. They are Facebook’s product.

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