Usability Review: New Twitter

Don’t like change ?

Let’s get this clear. I am a big fan of Twitter and celebrate any creative evolution, in a low-key sort of way of course.Twitter_logo_blue

When, decades ago, I first began critically appraising design, those who knew me were surprised I didn’t like every new design going.

“I thought you liked design” as if any design input works well. OK so now that voice is out of your head, lets take a look at Twitter.

Scope of Review

Putting to one side the dumbing down effect of the recent change to automatically displaying images in Twitterfeeds, let’s just look at Twitter’s new desktop interface. Beta tested to a select few earlier this month, the general public were given the option to upgrade, this Thursday (24th Apr).

Oversized desktop header

Biggest change. I still do not understand this trend to waste up to half the screen on a single image. This part of the screen is where most visitors first look for information. UX studies suggest up to 70% of first time visitors don’t scroll below ‘the fold’.
Taking up the full screen and 500 pixels in height, the real issue is if you try to display anything other than a’background’ image… there’s a problem.

Automated Responsive Web Design

Add text to the header image, then view it on tablet or smartphone and you will see it is overwritten with text for your Twitter bio.

So, looking at my desktop header image pictured here, the mobile view displays all the blue and black mid-section of the image. So 80% of the image must be kept clear.

Perhaps a more adaptive approach would be for users to upload two header images: one for desktop header and a smaller one for tablet and phone. This would also reduce page load times for mobile.

Bio text colour for Mobile view

You can not change the text colour from white. Ever wondered why books are rarely printed on dark paper with white text? Of course not! They are a nightmare to read.

White text only works as headings in bold or large fonts and a contrasting background. So, another restriction for the large desktop header image is that it must be dark for maximum legibility.

Messing with the Typography

Tweets with responses display in a larger font. This inconsistency is awkward to read. I like the concept though, so how about using the less distracting method of bold type ?

Pinning a Tweet

Select a Tweet for pole position. Good idea. When deciding whether to follow, visitors look at your last 3 Tweets. How about automating the process? Using the previous idea, the Tweet with the most RTs or replies(most engaging) in the last week becomes the ‘Pinned Tweet’.

‘Tweets’ plus ‘Tweet and replies’

Why you would want to separate out Tweets initiated by the user and those in response to others? By default, it displays only Tweets you initiate. Could someone explain why this is a good idea?

Grey background

Scroll ‘below-the-fold’ and the list of tweets sit on a light grey background. You can not add your own contrasting background to help draw visitors to the central content. A missed opportunity.

Am I way off the mark with my thoughts?

2016-01-03T13:04:34+00:00 Usability|