Twitter redesigns interface for a lighter, airier feel

19 Sep 2008

Woke up this morning with something you had to tell your ‘followers’? Something different? Hmmm. Something’s not right here. Oh, Twitter has gone and redesigned its user interface.

The popular social media site has been going through a lot of change of late, ranging from making the business decision not to foot other people’s texting bills to this rather interesting new user interface.

First off, it’s the same, not totally different. Tabs off to the side seem larger and more solid and the messaging text, to me at least, seems less chaotic.

It’s all a little more neater and you feel you have room to manoeuver with your 140 characters.

On the whole, the changes are cosmetic, but the Twitter team have said in a missive that there is more back-end work already underway.

The most significant change is the logged-in homepage. Twitter has moved the tabs that were on the top of the timeline to the right sidebar.

“We did this for a couple reasons. For one thing, it makes them larger targets and easier to access. But more importantly, it was an investment in the future.

“We plan to have more tabs, and we’d run out of room putting them along the top. This was the driving factor for this redesign, but you won’t see all the benefits until a future release.”

Twitter has also deployed Ajax to refresh updates, which makes the process faster.

The ‘star’ and ‘whoosh’ buttons have disappeared from immediate view, but reappear when you hover over an update.

Describing the new look as “lighter, prettier, simplified” and ultimately less cluttered, the Twitter team has added the first of many new functions with the revamped design customiser, which allow Twitter users to play with their homepage’s colour scheme in background, adjusting colours etc in real-time.

Twitter said it has teams working on the back-end of the site, as well as functionality changes which are on their way, and it described the new front-end as laying the groundwork for these forthcoming changes.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years