Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Twitter Redesigns to Be Simpler and Faster

Twitter unveiled a product overhaul for its Web site and apps today that it says is simpler and faster, with navigation built around its service’s key functions.

The new layout puts additional content and context inline within tweets, rather than off to the side. It’s also supposed to be 500 percent faster than Twitter was three or four months ago. And it looks different and sleeker; for instance, the navigation bar is now on the left instead of the right.

Nope, this is not a new product or feature — which by now seems to be Twitter’s least favorite thing! — but rather a conceptual and visual redesign.

Twitter contains four key functions, said the company’s co-leaders Jack Dorsey and Dick Costolo, addressing a gaggle of media from Twitter’s new industrial chic, uninsulated and barely renovated new headquarters in San Francisco.

The functions are tabs across the top bar in the new design: “home” — that’s the timeline of tweets, which you can click to expand; “connect,” signified by the @ sign, as in a user name; “discover,” a.k.a. emerging and relevant topics and activities, signified by a hash sign; and “me,” which are profile pages.

“Discover” is actually something new — it’s a tab dedicated to links and media that Twitter has determined are globally interesting as well as personally relevant to a user’s interests. It’s a lightweight algorithmically curated news aggregator, with snippets of text from linked stories and content embedded inline.

Also, select brands — 21 at launch — have access to “enhanced” profile pages, which have wide banners at the top and the ability to feature a single tweet above the regular timeline. Here’s one for Pepsi.

Dorsey said the design is meant to make Twitter more approachable and accessible. Early active users created the @ and # conventions, which have become key to the way Twitter works, but many users have no idea what they mean.

“Twitter should be usable for people who know the shortcuts and also equally usable for those who don’t,” Dorsey said.

Users can “unlock” the new experience by downloading the newest versions of Twitter’s mobile apps for iPhone and Android, or they can get it through Twitter’s Web site over the next couple months, Costolo said.

Here’s an info page about the launch, which Twitter is calling “Fly.”

Here’s what my new Twitter.com homepage looks like:


And here’s a before (today) and an after (architectural rendering) of what the new Twitter office cafeteria looks like.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus