When you logged onto Twitter today, you may have noticed some subtle changes to the design and layout, small tweaks in formatting which may have felt like a glitch in the Matrix, or like the ongoing lockdowns are starting to mess with your head.
They're not - well, at least not in this context.
Today, Twitter's design team has outlined a range of updates that have been implemented to improve in-app presentation, in line with the company's branding refresh which it announced earlier this year.
Notice anything different?— Twitter Design (@TwitterDesign) August 11, 2021
Today, we released a few changes to the way Twitter looks on the web and on your phone. While it might feel weird at first, these updates make us more accessible, unique, and focused on you and what you’re talking about.
Let’s take a deeper look. ???? pic.twitter.com/vCUomsgCNA
First off, the updated Twitter format now utilizes Twitter's custom 'Chirp' font, which it introduced back in January within its branding update.
So your tweet test will now look a little different, while all Western-language text now aligns left, making it easier to read as you scroll. Non-Western languages remain unchanged.
This is not a huge change, but it is noticeable, and is likely the most obvious shift that's messing with your perception in the app. Those letters look a bit thinner or something? Yes, they do, because the font has changed, which has had an impact on presentation.
In addition, Twitter says that it's updated its in-app colors 'to be high contrast and a lot less blue'. The change is designed to draw attention to the photos and videos in the app - which are also set for another, more significant update soon, with Twitter experimenting with a new image format, that would take up the whole horizontal space in-stream, eliminating the current, rounded borders on your photos.
That could have a significant impact on your approach to image posting in the app - and worth noting that Twitter also adding full image displays in timelines back in May.
The added contrast will further enhance the app's visual presentation tools, and make them stand out even more in the tweet feed.
Twitter's also updated the look of its in-app buttons, in order to highlight the actions you can take at any given time, while it's also removed various gray backgrounds and divider lines to de-clutter the display.
"We also increased space to make text easier to read. This is only the start of more visual updates as Twitter becomes more centered on you and what you have to say!"
So, yes, Twitter does look different, it's not just you. And while they're not major changes, as such, the visual focus, in particular, is worthy of note, especially for marketers considering new ways to make their tweets stand out in the increasingly busy tweet stream.
And it may be just the beginning, Twitter Product Lead Kayvon Beykpour has also noted that the update is 'a small start as part of a much broader refresh of the app that’s on its way'.
That likely relates to the app's broader shift into creator monetization tools, and expanding its use case, and it'll be interesting to see how else Twitter might look to tweak its design.
Beykpour also shared this image, which includes, among other things, a re-formatted lower function bar, with the Explore magnifying glass icon replaced with a Spaces tab.
Maybe a sign of things to come? We'll have to wait and see.