A few weeks ago, Twitter began rolling out what is hash tagged as, “#NewTwitter”. Now if you’re always tweeting from a mobile platform such as UberTwitter, Echofon, or Twidroid, you wouldn’t have noticed this redesign because it’s for the desktop web interface only. Being a huge nerd, I was overly excited to give this new web interface a chance. Here’s what Twitter touts as some of the benefits of this new redesign{1}:

  • cleaner timeline with a rich details pane that adds information related to the author or subject
  • embedded photos and videos
  • click a username to see a mini profile without navigating from the page

“If you had some of the nifty site features that we Twitter employees have, you might not want to use a desktop client. (You will soon.)” – Alex Payne{2} (Twitter engineer)

Much like when Facebook unveiled a redesign in 2009, this roll out has been praised by some and hated by many. Many of the users that I’ve noticed with the biggest complaint about the new design have been those twitter users who have been there since the early days of twitter. I can understand some of their hesitation to change since Twitter’s website has changed very little since 2006, but Twitter needed to do something to bring visitors to the site. Not every user of the service is a power user who has powerful desktop clients (like TweetDeck and Seesmic) and Twitter need to modify their lackluster site to incorporate features that their mobile clients have (such as embedded media viewing and auto-completion of usernames).

The redesign focuses a lot on a two-pane system, with the right hand panel including new information like replies and other tweets with the same hashtag{3}. Twitter can see this as a very subtle way to begin incorporating their promoted tweets and promoted accounts. If you’re unaware, promoted tweets and promoted accounts are Twitter’s way to monetize the success of their company{4}. Much like Google’s AdWords, Twitter would use the context of tweets as a way to offer suggestions for promoted tweets and promoted accounts in the right hand pane. Very clever and unobtrusive, Twitter!!!

I used to poke fun of those who would tweet from their bare-bones web interface, but those days are over with this redesigned. I have yet to log off the site since I got #NewTwitter a few days ago, and I think this is exactly what Twitter is hoping for. More time on their website, means more page views. More page views, means more money, and that is exactly what Twitter needs to have.

Sources | Footnotes | Additional Info:

Twitter Official Blog – A Better Twitter
San Francisco Chronicle – Twitter Previews The Redesign That Will Make You “Not Want To Use A Desktop Client”
The AppsLab – Thoughts on #newtwitter
Huffington Post – Eric Shutt: Twitter Offers Peek At Plans to Monetize Advertising