Twitter makeover in the offing?

July 18, 2008

Vista busy cursor Could Twitter be about to unveil a new look? At the time of writing (9am BST) Twitter is down for maintenance. The famous fail whale promises it will be back “in about an hour”, although it has been promising exactly that for at least half an hour now and I don’t know when the maintenance started.

Why am I conjecturing about a new design? Well, at around 10pm BST yesterday evening the design suddenly changed. I thought the Internet might have mangled the CSS file, or lost bits of it, but the result was certainly not a mess so I wasn’t sure. I twittered about the new layout and responding tweets confirmed others had seen it. It persisted only for a few minutes then reverted to the familiar somewhat dated look. I wish I had thought to make a screengrab – I’m sure someone must have. Yep, Techcrunch have got hold of it.

The news has certainly spread. Leo Laporte twittered about it a few hours ago.

Clearly it was a test. I guess it was a kind of impromptu Market Test. Twitter knew the new design would work from the technology perspective. What they didn’t know was how Twitterers at large would react to it. I liked it and guess the majority response will be favourable, and it wouldn’t have taken long for the Twitter management to collect a significant sample of user reactions.

There is speculation here that the design changes are in preparation for integration of Summize, the Twitter search service recently purchased by Twitter.  Maybe, but it’s not obvious how the modified design would accommodate the full functionality of Summize.

Twitter is still down. But what will it look like when it comes back up? I’m now wishing I’d made a screengrab of the original look for old time’s sake.

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  1. Twitter should release its Ruby on Rails code as open source, all the problems will be solved.

  2. Answer appears to be “no”. Twitter came back up a few minutes ago and it’s a case of “as you were”. Boo!

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