It has been a little over a week since Twitter officially rolled out its new web experience on desktop devices. The desktop redesign is actually the social media platform’s first update in seven years - and if I’m being honest, I’m not totally sure I can recall what Twitter looked like before 2012.
No matter how long overdue, social media redesigns predictably spark instant reactions from their users. Some reactions are positive, while others are critical. Once upon a time, users would even create petitions demanding the platform/s bring back the old versions, but now there's a greater level of acceptance of such change, and the period of irritation is short-term.
And perhaps nobody knows this better than individuals who work in social media. Part of the job means keeping an ear to the ground for new trends, and adapting to such shifts.
Seven years is a long time to be accustomed to any platform, especially one as frequently used as Twitter, so I asked a few social media managers to share how they feel about the changes, and whether Twitter’s new desktop layout will cause any significant impact on the way they work.
Here's what they said:
Twitter’s New Interface = Better UI
Damien Martin represents Shufti Pro, an AI-powered, identity verification SaaS product, and he hasn’t found himself struggling with any readjustment to Twitter’s new look at all. Overall, Martin finds it’s significantly easier to use and aesthetically pleasing for businesses.
What draws Martin in the most is Twitter’s user interface (UI) changes.
“The whole point of Twitter is that people can find information relative to their interests quickly and easily. The new interface, and its thoughtful tweaks, has made that possible. Going forward, I believe we can expect much more frequent updates in their UI.”
Cristina Maria, a marketing executive at B2B SaaS company Commusoft, also agrees that Twitter’s new and improved look benefits business profiles. Prior to the redesign, Maria admits that the company struggled with Twitter on desktop because the site didn’t have the most user-friendly interface.
“Rather than being a hasty translation from mobile, everything now seems to have its own place on the platform,” Maria says, “Twitter feels slicker and it’s easier to keep track of conversations. The change was long overdue.”
Speaking of change, do you remember the 2015 upheaval when Spotify changed the green tone of its logo color? It’s a subtle change that had a 0.00% percent chance of impacting anyone’s everyday life.
As noted by Maria:
“Change will always have its detractors. If you don’t move on, how else will an experience get better?”
How Beneficial Is Twitter’s New Layout Right Now?
As the digital director of boutique PR firm Right Angles, Nancy Elgadi knows it’s only a matter of time before Twitter’s new layout becomes second nature to its users. However, Elgadi isn’t quite on board with the new interface just yet, and has questioned how helpful it truly is in the current moment.
“As a social media marketing professional with over three years of experience in the industry, I’m constantly alternating between my clients’ accounts and voices. This layout change hasn’t simplified the process.”
One specific example Elgadi cites is that Twitter’s redesign places less emphasis on user, and business, profiles. Instead, that emphasis seems to be placed on Twitter’s homepage and trends sidebar.
Elgadi suggests that this could be indicative of Twitter’s attempt to offer more personalization to its users in the long run, however, she also notes that, in the short term, it could impact the creation and sharing of original content on the platform.
Is Twitter’s Redesign Doing More Than Users Realize? Probably
This is the plot twist that users - either via personal and professional Twitter accounts - might not be taking into consideration with the platform.
Tim Brown, SEO strategist, and owner of Hook Agency, certainly believes that the designers at Twitter understand aspects of the platform that its users may not. That’s a good thing - and while Brown has personally struggled to get on board with the new desktop design, he doesn’t think switching interfaces equates to failure.
“Twitter has played down personal profiles and gone all-in on the simplicity and focus on the desktop’s timeline. Ultimately, users appreciate consistency and as such, I believe there may be lower engagement rates while users readjust. Big changes are afoot, but there are small rewards in it for users”
However you feel about the new desktop layout, the fact is that change is constant in social media, and we need to adjust and utilize the strengths of the new formats - and be prepared to change once again when the next update hits.