Pushing towards more visual impact rather than its trademark minimalism, Twitter’s newest trend might be described as #redesign.
Twitter announced its new design of the micro-status site and its apps, which look more like image-centric social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, on September 18. Users will immediately see a difference in the layout of profile pages, with a header photo at the top replacing a user’s profile picture as the dominant image. A user’s profile picture and information are now placed in the center of the header photo.
Users can choose from their own images to use as a header photo. To do this go to Settings -> Design -> Customise your own -> Header. Upload the image and save. Users can still include a background image along with a header and profile photo on twitter.com.
After debuting the redesign on The TODAY Show, Twitter has had other influential users who have upgraded to the new design including user-generated marketplace Etsy and news source Breaking News.
The redesign could not come at a better time to possibly revitalise Twitter’s declining statistics. According to Alexa (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/twitter.com), despite being the number 8 most visited site in the world, Twitter’s search visits have steadily declined since rising last in August. After the September 18 announcement of its redesign, Twitter was at 4.6% of site traffic and has since decreased 0.4% to to 4.2%.
There are a few differences between the main site redesign and app update. With the release of version 5.0 for Android and iOS, mobile users can now see photo streams underneath recent Tweets, Twitter Product Manager Sung Hu Kim said in the site’s blog. They can also scroll through the stream to view shared photos and do a single-tap on thumbnails to enlarge photos in fullscreen, play videos or read links to webpages.
The Twitter mobile app for iOS is optimised for the new iPhone 5 and compatible for the iPad and iPod touch. Similar to the Facebook app, the visually-striking and clean iPad view includes menu icons to the side with the header photo at the top. (http://blog.twitter.com/2012/09/expand-your-experience-new-twitter-for.html)
However the design updates have come with a few glitches. A few days before the redesign, a small percentage of users on twitter.com experienced glitches due to a bug with profile photos and background images. Meanwhile some iOS users have complained that after the update, the app will not display Tweets. (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/twitter/id333903271?mt=8)
With the app update, there were unintentional mentions of other users due to issues of autocompleted mentions:
“We’ve identified an issue with autocompleted mentions on Twitter for iPhone and iPad versions 5.0 and 5.0.1 running on iOS 6. When you compose a tweet with an autocompleted mention at the end of the tweet, the correct username is not included when the tweet is sent,” said Twitter in a blog post. http://status.twitter.com/
Twitter’s engineers have since fixed the glitches and Twitter updated to the latest version of the mobile app, version 5.0.2, as of September 22.
With Twitter’s recent design introduction, users have the option of switching to the new design themselves and all Twitter users will experience the redesign eventually.