Last week, microblogging giant Twitter began to quietly test out a completely redesigned format, rolling out its revamped look to a select number of users.
This latest iteration of the popular social network features a large profile picture on the left-hand side of the page, set into an enormous cover photo that has tweet and follower counts laid over it. The timeline changes from a vertical and chronological feed to a scattered full-screen display, dominated by visual content. This new profile bears a remarkable resemblance to that of Twitter’s main competitor, Facebook. Not only is the layout an almost exact replica of Facebook’s template, but the emphasis on visual over textual content also mirrors that of Twitter’s largest competitor.
Although Twitter has elected not to release information to the media regarding its motivation for this redesign, it could be a response to the fallout over the company’s first quarterly earnings report. While Twitter did post a profit, it also reported slowing user growth, which renewed concerns regarding the company’s long-term value and led to a rapid drop in Twitter’s stock price.
Bearing this in mind, this latest design update could be an attempt to entice more users to either transition from Facebook or at least to activate a Twitter profile to complement their existing Facebook profile. It could also be seen as an attempt to keep existing users engaged by shifting the focus of the social network from brief sections of text to more engaging visual content.
This new layout, with its emphasis on visual content, may also provide increased advertising opportunities for Twitter. Since its initial public offering (IPO) last year, Twitter’s advertising strategy has been closely examined, with some questioning if the company had the ad infrastructure necessary to support a publicly traded company. This new design could offer the opportunity for Twitter to develop a more eye-catching ad template.
Whatever the reason for this change, Twitter’s new eye-catching format will be sure to draw attention to the social network. Whether its newfound similarity to Facebook will be viewed as a benefit or detriment remains to be seen. Either way, investors should be encouraged by the company’s willingness to drastically innovate in order to draw in and retain new clients.
[Sources: Mashable, CNET, The Verge]
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