Twitter gained popularity as a micro-blogging, minimalist social sharing platform focused on text-based content. The design changes they are experimenting with favor what we’ve been predicting all along: social media content is going to be increasingly visual. Twitter is trying to find a balance between keeping their current users happy while still making enough changes to attract and engage new users who are familiar with sites like Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest — which are all image-friendly.
Back in January, Twitter announced that it was “rolling out a refreshed twitter.com reflecting the look and feel of the iOS & Android apps.” The initial redesign included a white navigation bar across the top of the site showing the same options available on the mobile Twitter application. Twitter also adjusted the site layout on the Home, Connect and Discover sections to reflect the mobile design. The changes were relatively minor and made transitioning between mobile and desktop user interfaces a seamless experience.
In February, Twitter has been testing out a dramatically different profile design with a small group of users. It’s not certain if this profile redesign will roll out to all Twitter users or not — but it could. Even if the redesign doesn’t happen soon, it’s still important to be aware that anyone who is in this group of test accounts not only sees their profile with the redesign applied but all profiles on Twitter as well (including yours!). My personal profile (@nverhey) was one of those accounts and I’m able to check out the redesign and all of its features.
A large banner image stretches across the top of the page in the proposed redesign and my profile image is much larger. The redesign reduces the left column and moves profile features such as Favorites, Lists and Photos/Videos to the area just below the banner image. What I find most interesting about this change is the order in which these features appear. The redesign prioritizes Photos/Videos as the first feature listed to the right of Tweets in the profile navigation. Visuals seem almost like an afterthought for Twitter in it’s current design. Making videos as well as photos a priority in the redesign makes sense seeing as Twitter owns the micro-video application Vine.
When looking at the account’s Tweets feed there is a new sub-navigation with “Tweets” and “Tweets and replies.” Right now, Tweets and Replies is an option reserved for accounts that have the coveted blue check mark indicating that it is a Verified account. Thanks to the redesign, every Twitter user can enjoy this feature.
Now that we know what changes could be taking place it’s time to be a pro-active marketer. The recommendations below should be implemented regardless of which design (redesign or current) is applied to your Twitter profile at this moment or in the future. This way every user has a positive first impression of your brand when they visit your Twitter profile page.
- Upload a high quality header image (1500×500 pixels): The header image size needs to be the first thing you address with the new redesign because it’s the largest visual on your Twitter profile and because it will be transferred from a much smaller photo area. This new header image (1260×375 pixels – possibly up to 1500 pixels wide) will be adapted from your profile’s current header image (520×260 pixels). Twitter recommends uploading images that are 1252×626 pixels then resizing to fit optimally in the header image spot (with a minimum requirement of 520×260 pixels). If you uploaded an image under the recommended dimensions your header image within the redesign could look pixelated.
- Upload a high quality profile image (400×400 pixels). Some might argue that the Twitter profile image is the most important thing to check since this is the image attached to any activity you perform on Twitter. For this reason I put it near the top of this check list but not number one because it’s a much smaller image. The current Twitter design has profile pictures at 73×73 pixels. The Twitter redesign has profile pictures blown up to 400×400 pixels. If you had a less than stellar image uploaded, you no longer have the tiny image dimensions of the current Twitter profile picture to hide it.
- Make sure your link color fits in with your branding color pallet, is dark enough so visitors can read text against the light default background of the redesign and also compliments the two images on your profile. The redesign eliminates almost everything currently found under the Settings > Design section of Twitter profile options including the background image, background options, and overlay. The only design options beyond the two images listed above will be the theme color option which has been adapted from your current link color selection. You can use the color selection tools or type in an exact hex number (for example, mine is 03a39b).
The takeaways of this possible redesign (whether it happens or not) are to keep an eye on your ever-changing social media sites and consider making any content you share more image-centric. If you need some help with these changes or want to discuss what actions you can take right now to optimize your social media channels give us a call and keep an eye on GeoVoices!