What you should know about the new Twitter profile design

This week, Twitter has released the new design for the profile pages for all users. The new features include a full-width header image, the ability to pin tweets at the top of the page and a much more user-friendly interface for showing Photos and Videos, Followers and Following tabs. Many have criticized the new look because it resembles Facebook profiles. We think it actually looks much better than the Facebook profile. Because we offer Twitter design services, it’s our job to look at everything that changed. Here’s what we found:

The new profile picture

Before the new Twitter design, the profile photo would display at 73×73 pixels on your profile and at a maximum of 500×500 pixels when clicking on the picture. Now your profile picture will display at 200×200 pixels on your profile page. Twitter recommends uploading your picture at 400×400 pixels. This means your picture can look good on both standard displays and retina displays.

new size twitter profile

If your old profile image was smaller than 200×200 px, it will not look sharp on your new profile.

The new profile header

This is the most noticeable change by far. The new full-width header image will display at a height of 320 pixels, although the recommended size is 1500×500 pixels.

twitter-header-design

Adjust your header image at a 3:1 ratio

The best part about the new Twitter header is that you have more space to showcase a high-quality cover design, free from the overlay of profile details. In the profile summary pop-up however, your profile details will still be displayed on top of the header image. We’re hoping this is a glitch that Twitter has yet to fix in the near future.

A simpler template

No more backgrounds, no more style editing. The theme customization options were stripped down to one: theme colour. The design settings are still available, but they only apply to your home feed. On the profile image you can only insert one HEX code for the theme colour, which applies to links and some of the icons. The light blue colour used for the background is #f4f8fb, the same for all profile pages.

customize twitter theme colour

You can now customize only one colour for your Twitter profile

The new layout is also wider than before, so there would not have been enough space for a background with a promotional message on it to be visible, except perhaps on very wide screen displays. The header image is visible on all devices, while the same cannot be said about the old backgrounds.

Pinned tweets

You can now pin tweets to the top of your profile page. After you pin a tweet, a pin icon and the note “PINNED TWEET” will show next to the tweet, now positioned at the top. This new feature is similar to the pinned post for Facebook pages and groups. It shows that Twitter is focusing more on the profile page and how users can feature their best tweets.

pin tweets

A pinned tweet will stay at the top of your profile until you unpin it or you pin another tweet

This also means that pinned tweets will have a longer lifespan, compared to the average of 18 minutes. Users who check out your profile will see this tweet at the top and can interact with it.

Tweet popularity is shown

The number of retweets and favorites is shown directly below each tweet. The ‘Expand’ button has now disappeared from the new profile feed.

tweet-popularity-interface

Retweets and favorites are shown for each tweet, in browser as well as on the mobile app.

More than that, the tweets with the most retweets and favorites are shown in a bigger font size: 28 px compared to the regular font-size of 16 px for the not-so-popular tweets. “Highlight your greatest moments”, says Twitter. This typographic hierarchy attempts to make it easier to notice the most important tweets. We think the trade-off between consistency and hierarchy was not optimal here, as the readability of the tweets is actually worse than before. With so many coloured links and pictures, it’s quite difficult to scan through the tweets of different sizes. Fortunately, this typographic hierarchy is not used in the mobile app.

Your replies are set aside

There’s now a special tab with ‘tweets and replies’ where you can view all of them together, like you used to in the old twitter profile. The new profile shows the Tweets tab by default, which means visitors won’t deal with the noise brought by replies. They will instead see only the tweets that show in the public feed.

Tweets and replies tab

The most recent tweet by @TwitterUKI_SME is this reply, which is not visible on the Tweets tab

When someone is interested to see the replies, they can click on the ‘Tweets and replies’ tab at the top. If you tweet dozens of replies every day and were looking for a way to filter them out and push the important stuff at the top, this will come as a relief to you.

A user-friendly tab for photos and videos

Twitter introduced a new tab that shows all your tweets containing photos or videos, spread on two columns. Compared to the old mosaic of photos and videos without any details, the new tab shows the full tweets with the photos cropped at 438 x 649 pixels and the number of retweets and favorites.

Twitter photos and videos

While the photos are not shown at full size, the tweets and other details are now visible

Enhanced view of Followers and Following

The Followers and Following tabs were much, much improved. The three-column layout shows the header image along with each user’s description and whether or not the follow you. That’s right! You will now see who followed you back directly in the list of people you’ve followed.

Twitter followers and following interface

The list of followers and people you follow is now much easier to scan visually

Finally, a readable user description

You will notice that your profile details have been moved on the left column, below the profile picture. Overlaying these details on top of the header has always been a challenge for the readability of the user description. Now they are on a simple background and better organized visually.

twitter bio description

The new layout for the bio, location and link is much more readable compared to the one on the right

You can always switch back to the old design if you are not ready for the change or if you don’t like how your old header image looks at the new dimensions. A suggestion banner will stay at the top of your profile, so you can get the new look whenever you feel ready. We suspect Twitter will be urging all users to switch to the new look with more persistence.

Have you tried the new features? Tweet to @DesignDelivUK and tell us about the things you’ve discovered or if you’ve experienced any issues with the new Twitter design.