This is not what the Friends list currently looks like.
Firmware 3.00 brought many changes: some good, some bad. The good? The removal of the PS3 logo at a game's launch, which "makes the loading time a bit quicker than before." The bad? A few aesthetic changes, most notoriously the redesigned Friends list. Inexplicably, the latest software update added large gray boxes around each individual user ID, making for a cluttered look that simply didn't jive with the elegance of the XMB. SCEE's PS3 Brand Manager appeared on the EU PlayStation.Blog to admit that "updates to firmware don't always suit everyone's tastes."
Thankfully, the Friends list is something Sony is "looking into based on your comments." Mark Bowles added, "We really do appreciate the feedback you guys give us, both positive and negative."
Sony, may we recommend you take some inspiration from the mock-ups (seen above) created by Steven Shaw? The "box" idea works really well, when implemented correctly. Above, Shaw uses the box to highlight the selected user, and then takes advantage of the screen real estate to provide instant access to useful information. We're quite fond of his work -- you should definitely check out more.