CHICAGO — Imagine coming home from work to find your house in a different color, the rooms switched around and the furniture rearranged.
That's the virtual equivalent Facebook users have faced or will face as the online hangout forces its 90 million members to adapt to a redesigned site, unveiled in late July. Beginning this week, users' profiles will be irrevocably migrated to the new site. And the changes are being met with a mix of protest and resignation.
Facebook's main purpose for redesigning was to declutter, and the makeover is noticeable. Instead of finding a glut of information on a single profile page, personal news and photos are split up into tabbed pages. Also, third-party applications are more hidden.
Still, it's unlikely that the dissatisfaction with the redesign will trigger a mass defection from Facebook to a competing social networking site, such as MySpace or Bebo. Instead, people will get used to the new digs, a now-common phenomenon as people reliant on the Web are at the mercy of designers who change the look and usage of sites as they see fit.
"Like anything, you have to get used to it, so there's always that period where you can't find things," said Mike Kelly, 28, of Chicago, who's been playing with the new Facebook since it made its debut. "The functionality has actually improved. ... I have heard a couple people complain, but I think that's just growing pains."
The transition, which started Wednesday, will take about a week. Users of Internet Explorer 6 are still unable to access the new site, an issue that Facebook said will be resolved in the coming days.