Considering the number of options, third-party plugins and apps out there, there’s a significant number of people regularly using the main site. Considering Twitter’s push to have people only using the main site or app, the major focus would be on ensuring that these products are up to scratch, the mobile app getting a lot of attention with numerous updates and bug fixes.
Yet, with all this progress, it feels like the site has been neglected since its redesign back at the start of 2011. In some cases like viewing a profile’s photo collection, parts of the experience can feel rather broken as a result.
We understand that Twitter is designed more for mobile, but considering how neglected its desktop site feels – and especially since it is its main source of revenue – we decided to take matters into our own hands and present our vision of how Twitter should look and feel.
Before starting the redesign, it was important to look at what Twitter does right first and incorporate those features into the new look. For one, its simplicity is its greatest strength, and so the overall aim was to evolve the platform instead of creating an entirely new interface from scratch.
While it’s very tempting to fill the entire page with different columns and boxes to give users more features to interact with, doing so would make the page busier, which would compromise the overall experience. Therefore, we limited the design to two columns and placed tweets on the left-hand column to maintain consistency. The reason for the latter is to make other features on your personal profile and brand pages more prominent, which we’ll address later on.
Also, we included a search function above the news feed. Since Facebook unveiled Graph Search yesterday, having the option to help find recent tweets and tweets in your archive shouldn’t be unrealistic.
From first glance, you can see that a greater focus has been placed on visuals, to help brighten up profiles and the overall experience. For one, the profile photo and cover photo have been made larger than the current photo, the main profile photo in particular going for a larger portrait photo to draw attention. When placed beside the actual tweets below, the profile photo will be changed to a box format, with particular focus on the face or logo, depending on what your profile photo is.
The second area that saw change was photos. The chances of a user wanting to browse through every photo you’ve tweeted is unlikely so it was important that viewing them was quick and simple. Therefore, we added a function that would present you with a blown up version whenever you hover your mouse over an image. The current method of viewing images (outside of Twitter cards) is broken and this would give users an easier way of viewing photos.
The home page itself probably saw the least amount of changes, simply because adding additional features would be changing it for the sake of change. Twitter cards would still play a major role in the site, but a slight redesign would make the experience more intuitive. Twitter cards would play a part when viewing multimedia content like images and photos, but for third-party content that can’t be defined as an article or post, a side preview of any external links would appear instead.
Similar to Google’s search engine giving you a preview of a search result. Doing this will automatically expand the tweet to include actions like retweet, reply and favourite so you can read the article text without having to leave the site. You could have the option of viewing Twitter cards this way, similar to how the site worked before Twitter cards was introduced.
The discover page is a section that could do with some adjusting. Twitter predicts the type of news and tweets you want to read, based on who you follow, but some of its suggestions can be a little odd so giving users some control would be a step in the right direction. The major change is a filter function for popular topics to get a better idea of what content it should present, this would be determined by the content you like and tweet, those users you interact with the most and your geographical location.
We did consider adding a similar feature to the news feed, but since the news feed is Twitter in its most basic form and the fact that it has lists, we decided that adding it would be unnecessary.
This is where the biggest changes occur and even if Twitter wants to phase out the site over the next few years, it will need to give businesses a reason to invest more time and finances into it. There was talk of it at the start of 2012, but little came out of it. For one, the redesigned profiles allows the brand’s personality to really come out and instead of having the same features a normal profile would have, we added in some multimedia links to provide variety. Alongside photos, brands can embed a video of their choice underneath, while fans can view relevant hashtags related to the brand.
Scrolling further down, there are opportunities to add more extra information to further flesh out these profiles. In the Starbucks examples, brands can add additional details like menus, rewards services and information announcements without distracting users from the actual tweets.
To show how this would apply to other pages, here are our versions of pages for Coca-Cola and Disney Pixar: