Twitter unveils updated interface

by Jonathan Higdon
jonathan-higdon@mocs.utc.edu

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (UTC/The Loop) — Social publishing website Twitter has announced an all-new interface and will begin rolling out the new look to users over the next several weeks.

The new interface is based around the idea, outlined by Twitter on the company’s corporate blog, that “life doesn’t always fit into 140 characters or less.” The new interface will be centered around the familiar timeline, but underneath each individual “tweet” will be more information, including deeper context and related media from external websites. An embedded “details pane” will reveal this information, and opens the possibility for more features as the site continues to evolve.

The new Twitter interface, as previewed on Mashable.

Twitter has forged partnerships with the following companies to provide related media integration:

DailyBooth
deviantART
Etsy
Flickr
Justin.TV
Kickstarter
Kiva
Photozou
Plixi
Twitgoo
TwitPic
TwitVid
USTREAM
Vimeo
yfrog
YouTube

Such integration eliminates most of the need to link to an external site from Twitter, keeping more users on the site longer and, more importantly, prolonging exposure to paid advertisements. Social media news site Mashable calls the new Twitter “an attack on all desktop apps.” Twitter Chief Executive Officer Evan Williams said in the announcement that 78% of all users log in to the service’s website, as opposed to third-party applications, to access their accounts. The Twitter redesign seems focused on competing with the features and benefits of third party applications. Mashable claims, “the competition for your desktop was already fierce. Now each and every one of them … will have to fight harder to attract new audiences that continue to show a preference for using Twitter.com.”

This announcement comes just a few weeks after the announcement of the Twitter for iPad app, which was lauded for its innovative new design, giving users both the control of accessing the most relevant information on their mobile devices and the convenience of staying within the app to access information from external websites. Twitter’s new Web interface mirrors the new features from the iPad app, from the multiple-panel view to the “mini profile” pop-ups found within both interfaces.

Left, the "mini profile" from the iPad app. Right, the "mini profile" from the new interface.

The company has released a video teasing the upgraded service:

As the new Twitter interface has already started appearing on current users’ computer screens, reviews from individuals have already started rolling out. User @JoannaLord tweets, “the “unfollow” button on the #newtwitter is quite intimidating. I may just never “unfollow” another person ever again.” Seemingly pleased user @CharMoonUnit writes, “FINALLY got the #newtwitter … so fun!” As these lucky users “microblog” their reviews, others are becoming more impatient to use the updated service. “Still waiting on #newtwitter. This has become punitive…” says user @twbell.

Twitter has yet to announce a definitive rollout schedule, saying the service will come to all users “over the next several weeks.” For now, impatient users like @JoannaLord, @CharMoonUnit and @twbell (and myself) must simply wait.

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