Information Architects was contacted by Facebook back in 2006 to potentially redesign the site. Facebook dropped the ball though and never did anything.
Here is what iA came up with.
Basic idea: To create an mail-application like interface with an elastic three-column layout that clearly separates filter, information-stream, and reaction:
1. Filter: The left side column works as a sorting instrument
2. Information-Stream: The center column shows the filtered results
3. Reaction: The right side column is used for discussing the individual feed items.
Depending on what menu point you choose (news feed, messages, pictures….) the information design would adapt, but the three-column layout, separating filtering, reading and reaction would be kept for most sections. For example: If you choose the menu point “Messages” on the left you would see:
1. Submenu with Inbox, Outbox, Drafts, Trash, etc. (left)
2. The message-header and the first two lines (center)
3. The full message with an entry form for your reply (right)