It happened while none of us were watching. After an hour’s scheduled maintenance on Monday we were introduced to a new mobile interface for Twitter, now available from your browser - at least on my account @rharris.
You can use the mobile interface in your browser, while the “standard” interface is still available via a link at the bottom of the page. Thankfully, a cookie remembers the preference.
The new interface is optimized for mobile devices. It offers a totally different user experience. It’s more minimalist and less personalized, but is it better?
Let’s see what’s different about the new mobile interface.
- Search box
- Avatar pics alongside each tweet - now it’s just the user name
- Block of pics of people you’re following
- Your personal skin
- Menu items - moved from the top right to bottom left
- Bio and profile info - except for photo, moved from top right to bottom left
- Follower info - also moved to bottom left
- Size of “What are you doing box” - It’s now big enough for you to see only about 20 characters at a time.
- Speed - It’s just my impression, but it seems as though the updates are posted much faster.
If the new interface is what Twitter is planning to optimize the user experience via browser, I am not impressed. The interface may work for mobile but in a browser environment the changes reduce the social experience of Twitter. It feels more like IM. Removing the personalized skin background obliterates any expression of, and opportunity for, personal creativity. Some people may like the more minimalist approach. Is Twitter planning a permanent change of the default interface to reduce the load of Twitter usage, perhaps to make the service more reliable?