Twitter rolled out a new design earlier today, and we’ve been fiddling with the tweaked web UI and updated mobile apps since they went live. The updated website feels more polished and refined, bringing with it a much more app-like experience to your desktop browser. The company’s iOS and Android apps have gotten significant design overhauls that standardize the new Home, Connect, Discover, and Me divisions that are also available on the web and mobile versions of Twitter.
The updated desktop interface employs a unified two-column layout that remains pretty standard no matter which page you're on. It flips around the current design by putting dynamic content (like your tweet stream) on the right and more static items on the left. In the all-new Home tab, the stream of tweets from people you follow has been relocated to the right, making way for a new "Compose new Tweet" field underneath your profile information in the upper left. Clicking an individual Tweet expands it to display all replies, retweets, and any photos or videos that have been embedded within it. This expanded tweet also features a convenient "Close All Open Tweets" button that appears in the upper right. There's nothing completely radical on the new homepage, so users won’t feel lost at first glance, but there is a lot of new functionality to explore.
The Android and iOS apps are more similar than ever, but do still have some slight differences. They each have the four tabs (Home, Connect, Discover, and Me), though they're on top for Android and on bottom for iOS. Both apps are much simpler and cleaner than before for basic reading and tweeting, which should appeal to most users, but for power users might be frustrating. Lists are harder to find, for instance, and you can't long-press or swipe on a tweet to reply or retweet quickly. They have a refreshed color scheme (the Android app got a new icon, but not iOS), and both seem to be noticeably faster than the previous versions. And a pro-tip for iOS users from Twitter developer Bryan Haggerty: "swipe up on Me for DMs and swipe left on Me to switch accounts."
The Connect tab keeps track of all mentions, follows, retweets, and favorites that take place on your account. The new implementation differentiates "Interactions," from "Mentions," which are all actions that others take in response to yours. (Though mentions are technically considered to be "Interactions" too, so they appear in both places.) This seems to be about bringing people together more on Twitter — not only folks you already know, but others that share similar interests or opinions.
Tapping a message reveals the tweet it was a response to, as well as the rest of the conversation if it went back further. Conversations are now shown in a more obviously chronological order, with the first tweet at the top and the most recent at the bottom. If that's all a little overwhelming (which it could be, if you get a lot of new followers or retweets), the Mentions view still shows what it always has — tweets that used your name.
As its name implies, the Discover tab is designed to bring you information you didn’t already know. While you can, of course, type a hashtag or keyword into the search bar at the top, the focus here is on Stories, or specific things happening on Twitter in real-time. It’s not exactly clear how certain items gain this distinction, but it looks to be a mixture of location data, accounts you follow, and trending discussions in the area. From here, you can also find new people to follow, view friends’ activity, and browse for new accounts by category.
Because of the mobile app's smaller screen size, the Discover tab is slightly more condensed. It's topped by a brief list of new Stories, Trends, and recommendations for people to follow. You'll also find options to dig deeper and find friends from your phone's address book and browse categories (e.g. Music, Sports, Fashion) full of popular Twitter users.
The last major aspect of the new Twitter experience is an updated profile tab, headlined by a full-width bar along the top that displays your personal information and avatar. Below, you'll see the same two-column design Similar to the Home tab, your personal stream has been relocated to the right, while you can toggle through other account aspects such as following, followers, and favorites on the left. It's also possible to bring up a full gallery of recent photos and videos that you've shared, directly from the left side of the page.
Thomas Houston and David Pierce contributed to this article.