Media

Twitter experiments with new design, enlarging tweets and photos

Image Credit: VentureBeat photo illustration/Eric Blattberg

Twitter is thinking about a redesign.

Sources told VentureBeat the microblogging website is beta-testing different design configurations in order to make the site more appealing and easier to use.

Company sources pointed out that its designers are constantly experimenting and tweaking formats. They indicated that the news of a new layout for the tweet stream, as first reported by Mashable, was consistent with Twitter’s policy of striving to make the user experience more engaging.

The beta design, which a Mashable editor discovered when he logged into his Twitter account Tuesday, included larger tweets and enhanced photos. It also included embellishments to the profile category, according to the report. A photo of the beta site accompanying the story showed an interface somewhat resembling Facebook’s, a comparison that Twitter insiders dismissed.

The news comes on the heels of Twitter’s first earnings statements released earlier this month. Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo noted during the earnings call with analysts and reporters his intention of making Twitter “a better Twitter.”

Costolo stressed that making the site easier to use, and thus attracting new subscribers, was one major facet of the San Francisco-based company’s objectives. Costolo also emphasized that mobile was one of the primary ways in which the company would grow.

Indeed, Twitter reported that 75 percent of revenue derived from mobile devices. Twitter ended 2013 with cash reserves of $2.2 billion. The company’s user base also increased from 232 million users to 241 million.

Twitter referred this reporter to a previous blog on the company website confirming that changes were always underway at the company:

… We are constantly evolving the product. Some changes are visible — they may help you protect your Twitter account or make it easier to share photos; others are under-the-hood changes that help us suggest relevant content in real time and make Twitter more engaging. A common thread across recent releases has been experimentation. We’ve tested various features with small groups of our 200 million users before determining what we’ll release. These tests are essential to delivering the best possible user experience.It’s rare for a day to go by when we’re not releasing at least one experiment.

We also experiment with features that may never be released to everyone who uses Twitter. Those experiments are perhaps even more valuable because they help us decide what not to do — which is important as we work to keep Twitter simple while improving the user experience. Ultimately, our goal is to learn and keep making the product better; we aren’t necessarily looking to launch all of the experiments we roll out.

With the majority of our users accessing Twitter from a mobile device, it’s important for us to be able to test on mobile. Over time, you’ll continue to see us test and introduce new features first on mobile. For example, we recently introduced the people button which suggests accounts for you to follow.

So what does this mean for you? You may see some features that your friend doesn’t see, or vice versa. This is all in service of making Twitter the best it can be. We appreciate your help in doing that, so thank you.

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