Old bird, new feathers? – Twitter gets a makeover

Heads up people, there is a brand new Twitter in town.

Latest among the social media sites to undergo a facelift is the web’s most beloved communication tool, and it has certainly got the web buzzing about it alright. Why did they change the design and what exactly is new?

Twitter’s makeover sees the integration of its functions to 4 simple tabs on the Twitter bar, Home, Connect, Discover and Me. Connect, also represented by the @ symbol, is where the old Activity tab was relocated to now also integrating conversations and suggestions on who to follow. Discover, on the other hand, is represented by the # symbol and brings the user to a new page with a stream of tweets and content from sites out of Twitter in which Twitters algorithm determines that the user will be interested in depending on the user’s location, their tweets and the posts they express interest in.

The new and improved, sleek interface unifies Twitter’s form and functionality across the various platforms it is most frequently used in, i.e. Apple and Android mobile devices, building a stronger brand identity while seeking to also improve usability. Not only does the new Twitter looks better than before, it is also aimed to court the majority of the Twitter population, those that Tweet via mobile devices.

Historically, mobile tweeters have favoured third party applications more so than official Twitter applications due to the wealth of functions these other applications offer but now Twitter dangles the new interface as an incentive exclusive only to those who download the official Twitter app in their mobile devices. Well played right there Twitter, well played.

While Twitter’s marketing team appeals to our most curious nature as humans, their engineers seek to increase the ease of tweeting and using the Twitter interface with this makeover. As Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter’s founders, and now, chairman says “Twitter should be usable by those who know the shortcuts and equally usable by those who don’t.”  In line with this aim, the new Twitter not only appeals with an attractive new look but also by their increased ease in usability that makes tweeting and exploring the site a breeze for old and new users alike, particularly so through their new Discover and Connect tabs.

Symbols like @ and # might be confusing at first to first-time tweeters initially and that was a one of the major causes of the gap of users but the new design familiarises new users with the uses of these symbols in the Twitter-verse. This is aimed at getting more users and keeping them on the social network longer than before. With a design that ultimately aims to increase engagement with the site, Twitter also promises better integration of ads into both apps and site, also increasing their attractiveness to advertisers at the same time.

A rising trend among social networking sites, Twitter has also introduced improved “brand pages” along with its makeover. The first 20 brands to try them out are Coca-Cola, American Express, Paramount Pictures and HP among many others are already using these page interact with the masses and also tweeting about the various campaigns they are running.The interactive and clean interface make these pages a very promising new feature at Twitter.

So far the reception to this new design has been lukewarm, with many users feeling that it is both a downgrade and an upgrade from the old Twitter in various aspects. One major feedback from the general public is that the update is happening too slowly and many tweeters are anxious to experience the new layout for themselves. Looks like Twitter’s engineers need to chop-chop to be in time for the rush of Christmas and New Year tweet-ings.

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