Disappointed with the New Twitter Design
First of all, I am not a Twitter hater. Twitter is one of the few social networks I’m actually actively using (besides design-oriented ones, like Dribbble or Behance). Of course I do have Facebook and I’ve tried a few other ones, but either for lack of time or engagement I’ve never ended up using other social networks a lot.
I‘ve had the pleasure of hearing Mike Davidson speak at a couple of conferences, and I think the guy is awesome. I also have great respect for the Twitter design team. Unfortunately, Twitter’s latest changes to their iPhone Apps are not really worthy of my devotion. It feels like the design direction was: “Squeeze spaces to fit more content on the screen”.
I understand that a platform like Twitter needs to play in favor of the masses, and people with smaller phones might benefit from the content taking up less space (so they can see more content without a lot of scrolling). But I’m talking about the iPhone app specifically, and I believe a company like Twitter can actually afford to create different experiences depending on the platform.
The new Twitter design for iPhone moved the actions (like/favorite, retweet and share) to the only white space left, in the top right corner of the tweet box. This also forced them to move the timestamp next to the user handle. In addition, the whole box margin has shrunk to 9px. But my biggest concern is not the lack of white space or the overcrowded feeling. I’m worried about functionality. For example:
The flow of reading the tweet and taking the respective action is broken. Like many of you, I’m reading from top to bottom, and when I finish reading a tweet I either take an immediate action or I keep reading the next one. In this new design, you need to go back to the beginning of the tweet to take the action. I don’t have access to Twitter usage data, but I’m quite certain that this has affected the number of actions users are taking on tweets (maybe that was the intention?).
- Twitter has incorporated media previews on tweets (which is awesome). When a tweet contains media (photos, videos, link previews, gifs, etc.), the normal user would focus the image on the center of the screen to see it more comfortably. But when doing this, the actions are hidden at the top. If you want to like/favorite, retweet or share this media tweet, you need to scroll up a lot (or scroll up a little and stretch your finger) to take the action.
- The timestamp is hidden. I know Twitter is a chronologically organised feed, but I am not on Twitter 24/7. So when I read a tweet asking or answering the question “what’s going on right now?”, I want to know when “right now” actually was. To do that, I need to find the timestamp after my eyes resolve where the user handle ends (because Twitter handles vary in length).
These are just some thoughts from a Twitter user who also happens to be a product designer. And because I’m a designer, I decided to create my own take on the new Twitter design to show an alternative (which is kind of a mix between this new design and the previous version):
This was my approach. I would love to hear from other Twitter users and designers. You can just re-bound my Dribbble shot and give it a try!