[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Twitter.com Redesign, 7 Years In The Making

Say 'Hello' To A Simpler, More Personalised, Feature Rich Twitter

Twitter has today rolled out a global redesign of Twitter.com; it’s most significant design change in seven years.

To say it was a tad overdue is not an understatement.

Twitter’s designers started tinkering with a web redesign back in 2017, before opening up to beta testing in September 2018. Come January 2019, the new Twitter was available for a wider group of users, and today it goes live for all.

That said, given how popular a pastime outrage is on Twitter, it should come as no surprise that vocal sections of the Twitterati are complaining. But that’s to be expected.

Although, according to Mashable, unlike with previous design updates, there is no option to opt-out or roll-back to the prior iteration.

Much of the redesign centres on simplifying the user interface. Creating a platform to build out new features and experiences from.

There have also been some significant changes to the tech-stack, behind the scenes, which will make further development more straightforward. Resultantly, the new Twitter.com is much faster and resembles the app far more closely. As it should.

So, What’s Different & Why?

A few things have been rearranged in the new three-column design, with many small tweaks and edits, some of which have come directly from beta users.

The biggest, most noticeable change is that the top navigation bar has shifted to the left sidebar, containing bookmarks, lists, your profile, and a new Explore tab.

Twitter’s popular Explore tab has been introduced to desktop, from the mobile app, a la Instagram.

Likewise, on the right, the search bar features more prominently above a list of trending topics.

The lion’s share of Twitter users never tweet, instead passively consuming information. Therefore, the discovery features have been emphasised.

Twitter’s website is now more customisable, too. A nice touch, not possible on other social platforms.

You can change the size of your text, choose from one of several accent colours, and turn on one of Twitter’s new dark modes.

Speaking of nice touches, one of the new features is a tool that puts an emoji keyboard in the desktop composition box. Again, a feature added after user feedback in beta.

Jesar Shah, Product Lead on Twitter.com redesign, via Wired:

“In the beginning, I thought, we don’t need an ‘emoji picker’ right now. There’s a workaround for this. But that was the No. 1 piece of feedback we heard about what people wanted, by a landslide.

Internally, we call this project ‘Delight’.

One of the things we’re trying to do is make sure this is a delightful experience for users. We want to make sure people come back to it often and can achieve what they want to achieve on Twitter.com.”

How delightful.

Twitter Design Dilemmas, ‘What’s The Point?’

Twitter is 13 years old and at various points in its history has struggled with its identity, leading to product and design inertia.

Was it about news? Sport? Events? Celebrities? Friends? Family?

At differing points, over the past decade, it’s been about all.

However, as per other social platforms, Twitter’s focus moving forward is on CONVERSATION.

Over the past 18 months, Facebook has re-prioritised on-platform chatter, and Twitter is working to do the same, as is LinkedIn.

Further signifying for marketers the resurgence of community management on social channels.

Social platforms have become highly ‘un-social’ over the past five years, with Twitter being one of the most one-dimensional, broadcast communications channels of all.

Alongside this, the rise of ‘Living Room’ styles of more intimate social communication boded badly for Twitter, given its overt ‘Town Square’ public communication mode. Hence, the timing of the redesign is key.

Therefore, even aside from this redesign, substantial effort is going into helping people have fruitful discussions on Twitter, around the things they’re interested in. While at the same time trying to get a handle on trolling.

For example, earlier this month, Twitter announced a trial in Canada, giving users more control over which comments are visible in the conversations they start. The new ‘hide reply’ feature was originally announced in April.

Market leader Facebook has now shifted the product roadmap to favour more private, controlled and ephemeral forms of communication, such as Stories, Messenger, Groups.

Twitter’s latest redesign provides the groundwork for it to start making similar moves.



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