As a kid, I always wondered why change is necessary. On one hand, I was taught that if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. The other school of thought was all about the change is good philosophy and it made me realize that to change is difficult, but not to change can be fatal.
None the less, the world’s leading social networks are a great example of those contrasting schools of thought. Facebook, the world’s leading social network with 700 million plus users has always irked the wrath of public for introducing large-scale changes in its user experience, privacy and various other aspects.
In that respect, Twitter always handled changes much better – it kept improving over time but you’d hardly feel any difference in the overall user experience. IMO, it was a given that Twitter will need to introduce changes minimally because it’s widely regarded as a social network that thrives on simplicity.
While that philosophy served Twitter well for several years, it’s time for a change and that too – a major overhaul. In a major overhaul, Twitter just unveiled a new look aimed at simplifying the interface and hoping to keep users logged in for longer durations.
To be consistent, Twitter is changing its website as well as its arsenal of mobile apps (iPhone and Android) to have four universal buttons: Home, with your familiar feed; Connect, where you can see all your @replies and mentions; Discover, the place to check out trending topics and search hashtags; and Me, where you can dive deeper into your profile.
Twitter says the design change is driven by the desire to offer a consistent look and feel across all platforms as well as make it easier for users to embed photos and videos in tweets.
To be honest, I was a bit surprised to see the announcement regarding Twitter’s new design. Going by past experience, I never really expected Twitter to go in for a total makeover at the risk of annoying its users. However, based on whatever I’ve seen so far of the new look, it’s pretty neat and makes Twitter easier to use than ever. From a user experience perspective, it provides a more Web 2.0 and rich UI feel that was lacking earlier. The big plus – you can see everything – tweets, mentions, profiles, messages etc. at a glance without having to click multiple times.
All in all, no major complaints though I wish that Twitter informed users in advance and gave them an option to switch to the new UI. After all, there’re good lessons to be learnt from Facebook’s frequent change-this-and-change-that public backlash.
I’ve read a few interesting posts which suggest that Twitter’s new look UI is focused towards driving advertising revenue and lacks user-centric appeal. When it comes to Facebook vs. Twitter, the latter has always been criticized for not having a solid revenue model. Is Twitter looking to turn the tide with the new design? Time will tell.
All in all, I like what I’ve seen so far of the new Twitter and it epitomizes the change is good philosophy. What do you think? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.