The morning of July 19th, I got a text from my roommate: “Twitter sucks.” He was referring to the desktop redesign, which officially became permanent that week. As someone who tweets for a living, I was all too familiar with this feeling, and while I had already adjusted to it somewhat by that time, it was still a big change, and a lot to get used to.
Earlier this semester, I wrote a class post, going into a little detail about that feeling of trying to get comfortable with Twitter’s desktop redesign, as well as the impact of some of the new design features. So with a little time having passed since then, I thought it would be good to take a deeper dive into what some of the pros and cons of this update are, and whether or not one side outweighs the other.
Let’s start off with the pros…
The ability to switch between accounts
This functionality has been available on mobile for a long time, but bringing it to desktop is major. Long gone are the days of needing to keep a private browsing window open at all times to manage two accounts at once.
Another formerly mobile-only feature that has now made its way to the desktop version, bookmarks allow you to save tweets that you find interesting, without having to like or retweet them, and only you can see your bookmarked tweets.
Easier access to lists, explore page, and more
Previously, in order to access lists, direct messages, and other important tools, it occasionally required multiple steps and drop-down menus from the navigation at the top of the page. Now, all of these things are accessible right from the side bar, making work much more efficient.
Twitter has made the change from sharing the top ten trending topics to only the top nine and one sponsored one. Additionally, while the entire box of trends used to fit neatly in one window, now, only about five of the nine topics fit on the window, and you’re required to click “show more” to see the other four. It’s just a nuisance.
The notifications number is gone
With the redesign, a simple feature went missing. In the past, if you had a different tab open on your browser, the Twitter tab would display your number of notifications in parentheses, now it no longer does. This was so helpful because if you spent a lot of time working in a different tab, that rising number was a subtle reminder of when it would be time to check back in on Twitter. This may sound like a minor one, but it can make a big difference, as you may miss out on an urgent matter that’s stirring up a large number of notifications in a short amount of time.
It’s just so different
This con kind of sounds like a cop out (and it might be), but it’s just such a different looking site than it used to be, and that means the adjustment period for getting used to it will be longer than if it were just one or two small changes.
After this analysis, I guess it’s clear that the pros do outweigh the cons, with so many added functionalities, and no real downsides… but that doesn’t mean I won’t still act like a grumpy old man about the fact that I have to adjust to some digital change.