Redesigning the News Feed to incorporate separate streams of content into multiple categories, Facebook recently switched to a new "mobile-inspired" design, which is slowly rolling out to users. Giving us a behind-the-scenes look at how the modern News Feed came to be, Facebook user experience researcher Jane Justice Leibrock shows how she got testers to "reverse-engineer the feeds" in order to understand how users interact with News Feed topics they see on a daily basis.

The process involved giving testers a stack of printed stories from their existing News Feed, asking them to select which ones were interesting to them, and discarding the rest. With a slimmed down stack of stories, testers were then asked to group them depending on what they liked about them, fixing the stories to a whiteboard and marking them with a single Post-It note.

Newsfeeddesign

"An analysis of participants' piles and the stories they'd put into them yielded clear themes," said Leibrock. "Unsurprisingly, many people made categories of stories they liked because they contained photos, and a majority of participants created a category of posts by people they felt close to."