Twitter refreshes site with simplified design
Published Dec 9 2011, 12:24 GMT
By Andrew Laughlin
Twitter has started rolling out a major redesign of the micro-blogging website that is aimed at broadening its appeal to more users.
In the biggest announcement since founder Jack Dorsey returned to the company as chairman in March, Twitter said that the new look will make it easier for people to discover the information that matters most to them.
When people first sign up to Twitter, the service will help them discover the data and existing Twitter users that might interest them, based on their location and other subjects.
Twitter has also introduced embeddable Tweets, enabling websites to feature any tweet by copying and pasting a line of code. Visitors can then follow the author with a single click, as well as reply or retweet the message without leaving the page.
The redesign will roll out online, on mobile and also be reflected on TweetDeck, which was acquired by Twitter in May
, over the next few weeks.
Twitter now boasts more than 100m active users and wants to harness this captive audience to become an advertising powerhouse.
However, the site has faced criticism that new users find it confusing, including the @ and "#" shorthand symbols, along with a general lack of direction on how to track down the information sources they want to follow.
The new layout is intended to address these issues and also keep people on Twitter for longer, a crucial factor in securing more advertising revenues.
The rejigged layout more broadly showcases the # and @ symbols, as well as highlighting the news and entertainment relevant to the user, rather than just updates from the people and brands they choose to follow.
New icons at the top of the page include an "@ Connect" symbol signifying conversations, and specific people and brands symbols for searching and following. An "# Discover" icon signifies keywords and topics.
If users click on Discover, they are taken to a page with a stream of news and other content from sites and users that they are not following. These articles are selected by Twitter's search algorithm based on factors like the user's location, what they regularly tweet about and posts they click on.
The @mention button encourages visitors to tweet to your account, driving public conversation directly from your personal website.
"We'll be rolling out the redesigned Twitter over the next few weeks. You can see it immediately on the just-updated versions of mobile.twitter.com, Twitter for iPhone, and Twitter for Android," said Twitter in a blog post
"You can get early access on your computer by downloading and logging into Twitter for iPhone or Twitter for Android. We're working on updates for other apps, such as Twitter for iPad, and will share news as they become available.
"What we're announcing is just the beginning. We now have a framework in place that we will quickly build and iterate upon to help users connect with whatever is meaningful to them."> Charlie Sheen, Arab Spring most popular 2011 Twitter hashtags