Skip to content

Twitter redesign: first impressions

Wow, my last post became obsolete fast. Good to know that the talented designers at Twitter have indeed been working on a root-and-branch revamp of Twitter.com all this time. Sorry if I cast aspersions that you weren’t! Let’s see how they fared against my wishlist:

New home page

1. How is “Profile” a suitable label for your Twitter stream?
Well, you still have to click Profile to see your tweets. But they’re clearly titled “Timeline” now, and this is not the only way to get to it.
The tab is also highlighted when selected.
Score: 7/10

2. Why is there not a decent Profile page?
We still don’t have detailed Profile pages, with more than 140 characters and 1 link, and room for more personal information, account statistics and analysis. Curious to know the rationale for this.
Score: 0/10

3. Why on earth is there only a Tweet box at the top of the Home page?
and
4. As soon as you scroll down, you lose the Tweet box.
These problems have been fixed 100%. Not only is the box above both Home and Profile, but there at any point you can invoke a floating, repositionable tweet box from the button in the header.
Score: 10/10, 10/10

New Profile page

5. Inconsistency in the right-hand navigation between the Home page and the Profile page.
Well, the right-hand navigation has been completely changed. These links are now tabs on the Home and Profile pages respectively, and differ between these two pages. At least some thought appears to have gone into which tabs are shown. Would have to see if I find them intuitive. I may still end up wondering how to get to @Mentions while on the Profile page, or where to find things I’ve retweeted. Messages are in a more appropriate location, well separated, in the header.
Score: will have to see.

6. The Home right-hand navigation area is also polluted by, essentially, promotions
They have now been clearly separated from your content, and no longer pushing some of it down. Still occupies a lot of prime real estate, though.
Score: 8/10

7. The right-hand navigation could generally be used a lot better.
OK, still can’t browse my hashtags. And don’t have totals for @Mentions or Retweets, but that’s not really important. The search box is now in a sensible place, in the header. And they’ve done plenty of other useful things with the right-hand column.
Score: 8/10

8. Only when you’re on the Home page (twitter.com) can you easily see who you’re signed in as
Fixed. This is now in a sensible place, top right.
Score: 10/10

9. Twitter.com does a terrible job of showing you recent activity.
Still terrible. Still no alert for an @Mention. Not even a new DM is highlighted in any way.
Score: 0/10

10. Inability to Search inside your own Twitter stream, or inside someone else’s.
No change here, by the looks of it.
Score: 0/10

11. When you look at your, or someone else’s Profile, Twitter could display much, much more useful information.
Besides room for more personal information, I was hoping for statistics and analysis, such as tweet frequency and tweet type ratios, frequently-used hashtags, time on Twitter, etc. No change here either.
Score: 0/10

12. The “More” page-down experience is atrocious.
OK, AJAX (sort of) to the rescue. The new “infinite scroll” is very impressive and (in my tests) super-fast. However, it still does not allow me to easily make big leaps into the past, the way paging links would’ve. When you navigate away, and click Back, you’re also not (instantly) back to where you were, although it tries to do so and catches up after a few seconds.
Score: 6/10

13. The display of user lists is bad, both in the mini form (avatars in the right-hand column) and the full page listings.
This is also improved by the AJAX infinite scroll, and the layout is improved, but still no sorting, or searching for a name within a list of contacts. Also, the experience of mousing over mini-avatars to see names hasn’t been improved.
Score: 3/10

14. Automatically hyperlink a Tweet ID.
Unsurprisingly, no. (I’d be curious to know whether this is feasible, incidentally.)
Score: 0/10

So, in total, of my 14 criticisms, 7 were completely or mostly corrected, and 6 only imperfectly or not at all. One still needs further testing.

My analysis above looks only at the points I raised in my previous post, and does not take into account the smart new layout and many new features, some of them quite wonderful. I especially like the photos, videos and conversations in the new right-hand pane. (Although the pane often seems to be filled up with not-really-relevant stuff just because there’s room.) I want to experience the beta a bit longer to get a feel for everything that’s new.