Facebook's new birthday banner nixes forgetfulness excuses

We've all got them — those acquaintances you know well enough that you shouldn't ignore their birthdays, but that you don't know well enough to make a phone call or send a card. Facebook presents the perfect medium for well wishes in that case, allowing you to peck out a quick happy message and then go on with your day. The one catch is that you have to notice when it is someone's birthday, and Facebook's current design doesn't make that easy.

To make things easier, Facebook is testing a new feature that will make birthdays hard to miss...by shoving them front-and-center in your face, so to speak. Some users are seeing a new large banner at the top of their feed that announces when it is a friend's birthday, something similar to the greetings banner Facebook has started showing.

The greetings banner, for those who haven't yet seen it, is just a colorful card that offers some sort of greeting, such as "Good morning, John Doe. Thanks for being here — enjoy Facebook today." Some users find them creepy, others find them comforting or kind. In the same way, Facebook is showing some users when it is a friend's birthday.

In that case, the card shows a celebratory banner with glitter and your friend's profile picture. The card reads, "It's John Doe's birthday! We thought you wouldn't want to miss a chance to wish him a happy birthday."

Convenient, yes, unless you're the sort who loathes online birthday well-wishes, in which case the card is simply an annoyance that guilts you into pecking out your own generic "Happy Birthday!"

This is one of several tests Facebook is performing; whether the card survives to become a regular part of the social network is anyone's guess.

SOURCE: The Washington Post