Twitter Gets a New Look. Does it Get it Right?

A Look at Twitter’s New Design

Since its inception and subsequent launch in 2006, Twitter has grown its user base to a massive 319 million active monthly users by the fourth quarter of 2016. To stay at the forefront of user experience, the social media giant recently unveiled its latest design update, launching a fresh look and an upgraded interface. In early June the update was rolled out to iOS, Android and web users and promised to deliver bolder headlines with simpler designs.
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The updates are mostly cosmetic and are aimed at streamlining the Twitter timeline. However, the result makes now makes the Twitter feed seem somewhat similar to Instagram’s 2016 update in many respects. Grace Kim, Twitter VP of User Research and Design wrote in a recent blog post:

“With lots of feedback and ideas from [users], we’re refreshing our product too and making it feel lighter, faster, and easier to use.”

Kim added that Twitter “will continue to listen to user feedback and explore new ways to keep improving into the future.”
After many surveys and user studies, it was finally decided that many users found Twitter too complicated. The result was to redesign the look and feel of the platform to ensure tweets remain the primary focus of the user experience.

“We want the content to be front and center,” says Keith Coleman in a statement to Wired, Twitter VP of Product. “It’s about what people are saying, what they’re posting.”

Round Profile Icons

Another noticeable change to the Twitter design layout is the removal of the old square profile pic, which has been replaced with a round profile icon. The basis for the change was to help distinguish users from tweets.

The avatar has also been moved, so it sits above the timeline. People with multiple accounts are now able to identify which account they’re using at a glance.

There are plenty of Twitter users who like the rounded icon option and many who don’t care one way or the other. Unfortunately, for some brands that rely on using a logo or text or even QR codes for their avatar, the new rounded profile icon simply doesn’t work.

New-Look Interaction Buttons

Twitter’s new look interaction buttons are intended to remove any confusion for newer users accustomed to icons on other social media platforms. The old ‘reply’ arrow has been replaced with a speech bubble icon.


The new design also shows accumulated counts for likes, replies, and retweets on each post in real time. You’re able to watch the number change in real-time, which can be great if you’re relying on response rates for a marketing campaign or if you’re watching a particular tweet go viral.

Android-style Dashboard

The addition of the Android-style ‘hamburger’ dashboard menu also helps make Twitter’s platform a little more universal. Android users are already quite familiar with the idea of swiping the screen to open a slide-out menu dashboard, as the change was issued to Android users last summer. However, the new feature was only rolled out to iOS users on Twitter this month.

Previously, iOS users had grown accustomed to tapping over to the profile, then to the gear icon to access Settings. Now, users simply swipe to the right on the home screen to reveal the new menu, where users can find the profile, any additional accounts they have and some other privacy options.

Bolder Headlines

The typography on timelines is now more consistent than it once was. The new updates also feature bolder headlines, such as “Trending Now” or “In Case You Missed It,” shown in a bolder font to help separate them a little more from the content.

Safari View Controller

One of the bigger changes rolled out with the new update is one that’s less visible at first. iOS users will notice that clicking on web links within Twitter will now open links in Safari’s View Controller within the Twitter app. Essentially, this means easier access to accounts on other websites might be logged into. It also means users who take advantage of a Safari ad-blocker can also see those same ads blocked within Twitter’s app.

Users have the option of configuring the app so that links always open in Safari’s Reader view. Safari’s Viewer also offers a few other perks for iOS users, including support for AutoFill and fraudulent website detection.

What Doesn’t Work and is still missing? 

For starters, no EDIT function. There are many users willing to share their distaste for the new changes, adding the #NewTwitter hashtag to tweets. It appears the primary complaint among people using the hashtag is focused on the inability to edit misspelled tweets.

Despite all the changes Twitter has implemented to streamline the site and create a trendier layout, there is still no way to edit tweets. The update also made no effort to address the concerns about the number of online trolls, harassment, and abuse issues, and seemingly endless spam tweets are flooding people’s feeds.

Do you think that Twitter succeeded in making Twitter “feel lighter, faster, and easier to use,” as hoped by Kim? We would love to hear your thoughts.


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