Bryant Peng
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Bryant Peng

Thoughts on “Events from Facebook”

A design critique

Events has been long overdue. After launching event discovery features last year, it was only a matter of time before Facebook came out with a standalone app. Turns out, they’re not just going after Eventbrite.

Your new calendar app

Events wants to replace your calendar app. It’s the perfect bundle: event discovery and calendar management, all in one place!

Events contains a fully-functional calendar app, complete with calendar sync and event creation.

Visually, it’s inspired by the iOS calendar…very inspired. Try to spot the differences between their event creation screens:

These are different images.

Not that it’s a bad thing per se; there’s a time and place for innovation, and neither apply to “digital calendars”. If that means copying pixel-for-pixel, who am I to judge? As Cameron Moll (now a design manager at Facebook) wrote back in 2003, “great designers steal”.

But the mimicry here isn’t lazy—it’s intentional. Events wants to look and feel like a system app. Why else would the team swap out Facebook blue for iOS calendar red?

That being said, Events makes two crucial improvements:

1. Contextual calls-to-action

This is where the calendar and event combo shines. No plans that day? You can change that, right now!

Do I make plans offline, or am I a friendless hermit? The answer is left as an exercise to the reader.

By comparison, the iOS calendar’s empty state looks…barren.

2. Easy to browse

iOS only shows one day at a time. You can toggle the list view, but it hides the calendar.

Events shows your entire week, and lets you get the best of both worlds.

No infinite scroll

Coming from Facebook, this feels…wrong. Then again, it makes total sense. Events doesn’t have ads; every second spent here is a second you could’ve been generating ad revenue on Facebook.

Something we rarely get from Facebook: an end.

They want you to be efficient. Taking a page from Yelp’s UX handbook (🤔), the Events experience revolves around event pages and using this search UI to find them.

All roads leads to Rome, and all navigation items lead to this screen…if you can tap it and it’s not an event card, there’s a good chance you’ll wind up here. As far as elegant design solutions go, it’s this robot trying to walk.


Hot take: When Events introduces ads — presumably, sponsored events — it’ll come with infinite scrolling, and the search page won’t be as important.


The war against text labels

There’s extensive support for the use of text labels alongside icons (NN/g, UserTesting, UX Myths, UX Planet). Events, evidently, doesn’t care.

Instead, it has to explain itself during onboarding. Look at all that great copy that’ll never get read!

And why should it? Instagram never had text labels to begin with, and Facebook recently removed them from their iOS app.

To aspiring designers like myself: don’t take notes. Like shooting from 40, you can only get away with it when you’re winning.

Closing Thoughts

Events is the latest in Facebook’s effort to co-opt everyday words and glue them to their brand. It makes a compelling case for your home screen, and will no doubt become an important part of Facebook’s ecosystem.

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Bryant Peng

Bryant Peng

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