February 21, 2012

(which is to say, the new New Twitter, not the old New Twitter)

Not that anyone cares or anything, but I’ve found that writing this stuff down helps me think about user interfaces and web behavior

+ I really appreciate that it’s less wide because I like to be able to make my browser window small. Horizontal scrollbars make me mad. Old New Twitter, with its slide-out-to-the-right panels, always made me keep my browser really wide even though the actual tweets took up very little screen real estate.

+ I like that the “Home” icon is a birdhouse and the “compose new message” icon is a feather quill. It’s cute

The much-loathed “Discover” tab. An entire section for “trending topics” and the unavoidable “suggested users” list? Just useless.

Why isn’t the “person” icon at the top just my avatar so I can tell at a glance who I’m posting as? Why doesn’t it just go to my profile when I click it? If I need the drop-down list I can just click the arrow.

It takes an inordinate amount of clicks to get to my lists. I know nobody really uses lists, but I like them because they help keep Twitter manageable, so their de-emphasis is weird to me.

~ Never really cared about Direct Messages, so I don’t care about Twitter de-emphasizing the feature. It should just be e-mail anyway.

+ I like it when menus are on the left (see: basically any of my sites). Not sure why other people don’t.

The part where you actually type your message – the entire point of the platform – is scrunched up in a left-hand sidebar.

+ I guess I like that all the avatars have rounded corners now

For five years the “@username” and “follow us on twitter @username” thing has been so played up on the internet and in the media that I’d warrant even people who don’t use Twitter and have only the faintest idea of what it is have gathered that “@ = Twitter” somehow. Twitter basically owns the @ symbol now, which is an enormous coup. So why are they emphasizing “real names” over usernames now??? I realize they want to simplify things and make things things less tech-y for normal people, and “John Doe” is more familiar than “@velocistar237,” but I think regular people “get” the username thing now – they use e-mail, they know the drill. When Google+ came out and everyone was upset about their draconian real name policy, the head of Twitter said they don’t care about real names at all because it makes no difference to advertisers. It actually welcomed pseudonyms. This seems like a reversal and I really don’t see the point in changing things around at this point. It’s only made my stream weird and unfamiliar. I know most of the people I follow by their usernames, so their “real names” make them strangers to me. And since a lot of them are jokers who’ve had fake punny names in the “real name” field since forever, it just makes things even more confusing.

+ The little animation when you “open” a tweet – isolating the tweet from the rest of the stream – is pretty neat.

However, when I “open” a tweet that’s a response to an earlier tweet, my instinct is to click the right-hand corner of that earlier tweet to close the whole conversation. But instead it just expands that earlier tweet. It’s hard getting used to.

~ Not sure what to think about “favoriting” now being essentially equal to “retweeting.”

+ The built-in “Embed this Tweet” feature has made things a lot easier.

+ I think photos and stuff are wider now. I was looking at some Kate Beaton twitpics and I didn’t have to click them to be able to read them.