(The following is more entertaining when you imagine it’s being read by someone with a snooty English accent.)
Preliminary thoughts on the new Twitter design: fail. The favorite and retweet emblems at the top-left of each tweet are awkward-looking and less-obvious than in the previous design. While technically handy, having profile icons for each and every tweet quickly becomes repetitive. Oh, and clicking a username in the timeline opens a sidebar instead of taking me directly to the user’s profile. Doesn’t the arrow in the upper-right corner of each tweet perform a very similar function? In my mind clicking a user’s name should take me the fuck to their page; this new setup adds an extra click to the process…which really only adds an extra layer of protection when I accidentally click the username of a zombie sex fetishist. Then there’s the fact that you now have to manually refresh your profile page if you want to see your latest tweets. But I’m not going to throw a fit over that. I am going to throw a fit over Twitter’s design crew throwing the rule of thirds out the window.
See, the problem with New Coke—I mean, New Twitter—isn’t that it’s more cluttered or overly complicated. It only looks that way because it’s not following the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is one of your basic design / composition techniques. Not only does it make the best of potential white space, it gives your eyes an immediate focus upon first looking at a picture, a video, a Web page, etc. Before, when you visited a Twitter profile, your eyes were immediately drawn to the tweeter’s most recent tweet, right up there at the top of the easily distinguishable “main” column in big, bold letters. NewTwitter presents you with two columns of nearly identical width; your eyes don’t quite know where to look at first. For that split second you’re thinking, “Who am I? What am I doing here? Should I switch to PornTube?” There’s no main focus. NewTwitter pages look too busy, even though they’re really not. It’s an optical illusion of the worst kind.
It’s like the Gap design crew got drunk, crashed a Twitter slumber party, and fucked with their master files. Gap fixed its own mistake. Will Twitter do the same?