The Twitter redesign that is being rolled out to select accounts is causing a stir online. The Twitter redesign itself is altering how the profile pages of users look and operate. Many users are looking at accounts which are using the redesign and thinking that they liked it better the first time they saw it – when it was called Facebook.
The Twitter Redesign: The Good, The Bad, and the All Too Facebook
To cut right to the chase of the Twitter redesign, in The Guardian’s article on it they took photos of users who had already changed over to Twitter’s new look. My favorite example was for American rock band Weezer:
Can you tell the difference? I took those screenshots myself and I had to double check to be sure I didn’t put the same photo up twice! I didn’t though, the first shot is for Weezer’s Twitter account. You can see where it says ‘Tweets.’ The second is for their Facebook account, you can see where it has the Facebook ‘Like’ button.
Reaction to Twitter’s redesign has been as varied as you’d expect. @FastCoDesign came out in favor of it, which I find odd. Wouldn’t a design company want to see a new cutting edge design? The boundaries pushed? Perhaps their design ethics are okay with styles being ripped off, er, heavily inspired by as a tribute:
— Co.Design (@FastCoDesign) April 9, 2014
Anonymous’ @YourAnonNews account had their say on what they believed to be a dumbing down of Twitter with the redesign:
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) April 8, 2014
Let’s hope they don’t decide to shut it down and change the design back again…
The winner for most flippant, and accurate, tweet goes to @RexHuppke:
It's good that Twitter is doing a redesign, because we were close to running out of important things to complain about.
— Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) April 8, 2014
I feel more and more often lately that social media sites do not redesign for any reason other than stirring up some talk and getting their name mentioned in media. Few of them really revolutionize how their services work. You’ll still be sending out messages with a 140 character limit…
What has changed with the Twitter redesign
Users with the new Twitter design will be able to use the following new features and see these different layouts:
- Tweet filtering: Lets you choose what tweets you want to see on other Twitter profiles. Choices are tweets, tweets with replies, and tweets with photos and videos. Not a cutting edge feature, but maybe you’ll use it here and there to find certain tweets.
- Popular tweets: When a tweet receives a lot of attention, it will physically be bigger so it is easier to find. The thinking is that it is more important and users will be looking for these important posts. To me it seems like a case of the strong getting stronger, where Twitter is suppose to be an even playing field.
- Pinned tweets: This is a pretty cool feature that works like a ‘sticky’ topic in a forum. Twitter users can mark certain tweets and have them always appear at the top of their profile, giving new visitors a chance to see what they’re all about quickly. This reminds me of YouTube’s channel introduction videos that I talked about in the link.
- Profile photos: Perhaps the most maddening update as this is what makes it look exactly the same as Facebook. You can see for yourself in the photos above that there is a much larger header photo that goes across the entire top of the profile.
My overall reaction to the Twitter redesign is…apathetic. It’s boring. We’ve seen this before – it’s called Facebook. Why didn’t they come up with a design that met the unique needs of their users? Surely there was a better look for their constantly updating tweet stream than pasting a big fat photo all the way across the top.
Will it help you get more Twitter followers like our service does? Possibly. The goal is to make Twitter feel more like something that more users are familiar with. That being Facebook. You could see an increase in follower numbers as more people join in.
My proposal for a better Twitter redesign
My proposal for a better Twitter redesign, because I believe in presenting options, not complaining randomly, is one which expands the profile photo down the left side. The smaller logo, where the ‘W’ in Weezer’s profile goes, would be on the right with the ‘Who to Follow,’ ‘Trends’ and other boxes below it. The Twitter bar stays on top.
My Twitter redesign would then allow for a big Twitter feed up the middle, highlighting the entire point of Twitter itself. The problem with the new design is that usually only one tweet exists ‘above the fold’ when you load a profile, limiting the amount of tweets you see at first. Twitter is all about things being fast. Why are they making it difficult to see tweets right away? The photos don’t do anything for me along the top: I want to see the tweets already!
Feature photo credit to Ari Helminen.